Juniore: Un Deux Trois (Outré)

French noir-pop specialists unveil glorious new LP

Released Jan 30th, 2020 via Outré / By Richard Lewis
Juniore: Un Deux Trois (Outré) Deservedly finding a receptive audience in the UK following highlights-so-far disc Magnifique in 2018, French noir-pop trio Juniore return with new LP Un Deux Trois.

Led by vocalist/songwriter Anna-Jean alternating between guitar and keys and producer Samy Otsa doing the same, the combination of surf guitar riffs, Vox Continental organ keys, and Francophone yé-yé pop is held together by Swanny Elzingre’s outstanding drumwork. Recent live set opener, the sashaying groove of Soudain and minor key rocker Grave with its heavily echoed backing vocals and oscillating theremin begin Un Deux Trois in commanding fashion.

Brief instrumental Walili (possibly named after the Moroccan city) leads into one of the album’s best moments, La verité nue (The Naked Truth), underpinned by a looped bassline and Swanny’s skittering beats. The near instrumental Bizarre, understandably selected as the second single from the LP is an earworm of a tune, its whistled riff lodging itself in the memory.

Any filmmakers requiring a film noir / spy movie soundtrack are urged to contact the current band. Tu Mens is one of Juniore's best so far, evoking scenes of frantically dashing between telephone boxes, bugged hotel rooms recorded on to reel-to-reel tape and discussions in smoke-filled rooms about sorties “behind the wall”.

On the subject of soundtracks, if Antonioni had shot Swinging London flick Blow-Up in Paris and hired Juniore instead of The Yardbirds for the club scene (slightly problematic pending the invention of a working Tardis, admittedly) superlative garage rock stomper Ah bah d'accord would have provided the ideal soundtrack.

The flipside to the single meanwhile, En Solitaire is a wonderfully languid slice of dream pop that sparks into double-time as the fade approaches. Surrounded by a halo of deep reverb, Que la nuit is a mournful torch song that sees Anna-Jean turn in one of her best vocal performances to date, while the flute embellished Adolescent is sparkling psych pop.

A rich tapestry that pulls together all the threads that made them so notable, the Parisians' second long player is a finely tailored gem. 4/5