If you thought it odd when country and punk rock first joined forces, get a load of this: Nouvelle Vague is the bright idea of two multi-instrumentalists, Marc Collins and Oliver Libaus, who've rewritten 14 post-punk and new-wave classics as breezy and jazzy bossa nova numbers. Sounds dumb, sure. But surprisingly, many of these cover-song reinterpretations work stunningly well, especially the ones you already know by heart in their grittier, more urban-friendly formats. The Clash's "Guns of Brixton," for instance, sounds so lovely that you'll no doubt forget about the song's original intent altogether. But "Guns" was something of a reggae tune to begin with, so it's even more surprising to hear how nicely the Dead Kennedy's "Too Drunk to Fuck" translates, or Joy Division's "Love Will Tear Us Apart," or the Sisters of Mercy's "Marian," or the Cure's "A Forest." Much of Nouvelle Vague
's fun, in fact, lies in the song-spotting. (Is that "Teenage Kicks" by The Undertones? Yes, it is.) In other words, Nouvelle Vague
is something of a party trick that, truth be told, sounds better than most of your Gilberto Gil records.