One of my friend’s favourite statement of the moment goes as follows: “Modelling oneself on someone turns you into modelling clay”. I am never sure if he says it exactly like that but you’ll get the point as soon as you know that Les Yves are a French copy of The Hives. Copy is not the most accurate word but in the end they make it clear that they worship The Hives and attempt to make the same kind of punk-rock’n’roll music. Pronounced by a middle class French person, The Hives becomes “Les Yves”, phonetically speaking. As simple as that. Eventually, I guess that if you don’t like the model, you won’t be interested in another version of the model, even if it’s good stuff.
Taking after their predecessors, the songs of Les Yves are energic 2 minutes
long punk ‘n’ roll stuff. Some might say basic, I will prefer catchy. When
trying to talk of this 8 track EP, it becomes almost impossible to detach
oneself from the known version of the concept. Same gimmicks, same singing
(sometimes on the edge of detuned copy), the same only different. However, Les
Yves have introduced a comic dimension to their copying that might allow the
audience to understand the whole thing as a joke. (see them live to catch my
point). Indeed, a song like ‘Princesse’ goes deeper into the parody, mixing
an hypothetical Hives’s down tempo love song (or rather a 1950’s American
love ballad) with hints from famous (?) French singer Johnny Halliday. Princesse,
je t’aimerai d’amour / princesse je t’aimerais toujours. The
lyrics are in-between naive and stupid, parody indeed. You understand this
humorous dimension even better when you reach the hidden track of the EP that is
a karaoke version for ‘Princesse’.
And in the end, this is all a joke, but I can’t deny that Les Yves are talented enough in order to call in the comparison with The Hives and not being ridiculous about it. Ok, they do the same thing, but they rock it good!
By the way, I like The Hives so it’s not a surprise to me that I like Les Yves. It’s because I saw Les Yves live one day that I was interested in buying The Hives. Les Yves are a great live band, full of energy and slightly crazy. And now I possess records from both of them. My review comes full circle. A perfect circle? I ain’t got any tools left to answer that.
-Angus "Angus Anderson" Anderson
/dec 1st 2003/