The Truffauts - Oscar

12 songs
47:23 minutes
***** ****
TP9 / Micropal


Who cares about success? Being popular usually just means doing exactly what is expected of you. Real artists donít give a damn about such petty things and just keep on doing what they can do best. The Truffauts are a quartet from Nurnberg in Germany. They were founded in 1986 and released their first album already one year later. Since then they kept on making records on a small scale. Sometimes there were longer breaks between records, but The Truffauts were never really gone. Now they are back with their twelfth longplayer Oscar, and when you compare it to their debut more than thirty years ago, you will notice that not that much changed over the decades.

Of course the kids have become men, and maybe some of the wild energy of the early days has been replaced by well earned melancholy, but fact is that The Truffauts still play this idiosyncratic mix between indie pop, indie noise rock and Chanson, the latter being emphasised by the occasional French lyrics. I used to think that Ronald Chateauroux and Jean-Jacques Boucher must be Frenchmen, but it turned out that they are aliases for their real German names Ronald Rothenburger and Joachim Busch.

But back to Oscar. The first thing that struck me was how great the songwriting on this late career album is. Although the musicians must be well into their Fifties now, they havenít unlearned how to write a catchy tune. Why change your style when you can still perfect it? Take for instance the opener and first single Pluto, a strange song about love lost set in a time when Pluto still used to be a planet. The song comes with a retro-futurist guitar line that reminds me of early B-52s. The chorus will dig its way into your brain and not get out of there anytime soon. The following Morocco Street is a lethargic indie noise rock ballad with guitars that sound slightly out of tune, helping to give the track a simmering hot summer atmosphere. Ici et maintenant is one of the bandís French songs, a melancholic ballad about the past, present and future. And so the album goes on, with a good balance between punchy pop rock songs and mellow and ever so slightly askew ballads. Other highlights include Do The Dorian, about walking your lobster, maybe another hint at The B-52s? ArrÍter le temps is another downbeat French ballad, and the concluding ballad Smart Liar comes as a duet with a female guest singer.

Enjoying an album like Oscar is a matter of taste. For some, it will be too timid maybe, never trying to be spectacular just for its own sake. Others will see deeper within this piece of art and recognise how The Truffauts channel the spirit of Big Star and Television into introspective and unforgettable indie pop gems. Some bands burn like a bright star early in the career and are then spent for the rest of eternity, and then you have those rare exception like The Truffauts who refine their craft over time, or to quote the lyrics of the concluding track on this album: when the best is yet to come!

Back to Reviews