Recent French musical exports have had an inexplicable infatuation with all things ’80s and electro trio Minitel Rose are no different. In fact they have been afflicted by this bug worst than most of their compatriots. Atlantique sees a marked shift in style and direction. An obvious longing for days of the Delorean, Nightrider and The A-Team remains but this is where the similarities with the group’s 2008 debut, The French Machine, cease. The much lauded gung-ho synths and floor-filling Gallic electro are removed in favour of a thinly-veiled, sleek and simplistic take on electro-pop.
This is a record which is comfortably en vogue. However, there is a sense of safety and lack of risk-taking and you could be forgiven for assuming this is a soundtrack to an ‘80s movie remake. Much like the decade it’s inspired by, this is mainly focused on style and not substance, characterised by a lack of lyrical depth in favour of glossy basslines, sing-a-long choruses and a cheery, upbeat tempo. Minitel Rose are at their best when they step out of their ‘cool’ comfort zone to take chances and have fun, an approach which is sadly often neglected throughout Atlantique. However hard they try it’s impossible to suppress their flamboyant, fun nature. It shines through like a beacon of giddy, infectious light with ‘100 Years’, ‘Heart of Stone’ and ‘Stay’.
While Atlantique fails to replicate the nuances of Phoenix or Jamaica, it’s not a bad record; it’s more of a missed opportunity. It fails to fulfil their obvious potential, to engage the listener or build on the foundations of their debut record, sadly coming across as an uninspiring and self-indulgent affair.