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Monday, 4 July 2011

Les Bof in the Morning Star

Morning Star Online

Get off with Bof!

Sunday 03 July 2011
Les Bof! - Nous Sommes Les Bof!

With most contemporary garage bands, the needle hits the vinyl and you're overcome by a sense of deja vu, then a bout of yawning and finally a longing for death.

But Les Bof! are a garage band with a difference, whose debut album Nous sommes... Les Bof! has just come out.

Their name roughly translates as "not bothered" and it's usually delivered in French with a certain laid-back insouciance.

The four-piece are made up of three Scots and stranger-in-a-strange-land French singer Laurent Mombel.

How did a boy from Marseilles come to be displaced in Edinburgh playing in a '60s-inspired beat group?

"I moved to Edinburgh about 12 years ago because I was going out with a British girl and we decided to set up here," he explains. "The love story didn't last but I decided to stay because I had such good friends and because of the music and the clubs."

Laurent met guitarist Angus McPake, a veteran of the European garage rock circuit, in a club and they cemented their friendship at Angus's own French '60s pop night, Sweet '69.

Having been north of the border for over a decade, Laurent is still unmistakably French and you can hear it when he has a rush of excitement about playing the '''armonica, the blues 'arp!"

France, well-known for electro bands like Daft Punk, is not so high-profile when it comes to rock and Mombel explains why.

"We are not really famous for our rock because bands love to sing in French," he says. "They think the language is a bit more poetic. And in a certain way I suppose it is."

But he's also picked up Scottish inflections and sounds not unlike Christopher Lambert in Highlander.

Les Bof! influences include French '60s chanteur Jaques Dutronc, better-known here as Monsieur Francoise Hardy.

The band regularly covers his classic Les Cactus with its lyrics like "The whole world is a cactus, it's impossible to sit."

The words may be silly, "but it's very effective and very bluesy as well," Lambert expounds. "And we all love Antoine et les Problemes as well as US '60s Garage and British Beat."

Nous Sommes... Les Bof! was years in production.

So committed were the band to the sound that they built their own studio to get that authentic analogue ambience and '60s bleed over.

"It's what makes this band so exciting because it's our product, it's the sounds we wanted, the equipment we wanted," Laurent says.

Anyone catching them live or listening to their new album will understand why he's so enthusiastic.

Nous sommes... Les Bof! is available on Copase Disques. The band appear at The Voodoo Rooms, Edinburgh, on July 14. Box office: (0131) 556-7060.

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