The French have an expression, "zut, alors!" that registers surprise, the equivalent of "dang!" or, in this case, "this new band could set the sun itself on fire! ... where did they come from and what do they want with us?"
You see, the Zut Alors' sound is unlike anything else coming out of Nashville, sweeping modern indie-tronica, but with all the come ons of rearview-gazers like fellow French pop zealots Broadcast or Screamadelica-era Primal Scream. More than just retro-futurist fetishism, however, the brainchild of Nick Bennett has its roots in classic songwriting, with absorbed influences cooler than the other side of your pillow. Aesthetically savvy, too, it's almost as if they were created entirely on paper, and then fleshed out according to some kind of divinity.
The fateful origins of their cinematic, post-C86 dance-rock were humble, however, with Bennett and a few friends e-mailing bits of songs back and forth in the spring of '09. Using whatever instruments were around -- Wurlitzer, archtop, pedal steel, theremin -- and shoestring recording methods including Garageband and VCR tape, they quickly and independently wrote, recorded and released their debut, the ZUT ALORS! EP. The first song, "The Killing Kind", which the Nashville Scene would call "one of the best tracks to emerge from Nashville in 2009", was conceived and put to tape in just one night. It's emblematic of the instant karma that has built the band, and the good vibes that have carried them quickly from bedroom-pop hopefuls to the vanguard of the internationally in vogue local scene.
At that breakneck pace, 2011 looks to be the year of the Zut Alors, as they take their BOY GIRL PARTY beyond the friendly confines of Nashville.
- Andrew J. Smithson
“The Killing Kind,” is one of the best tracks to emerge from Nashville in 2009. Other standouts are the upbeat “Lightswitch of Love,” which sounds like Vince Clarke-era Depeche Mode, and the anomalous “Cheers,” a ballad that takes a cue or two from The Flaming Lips’ “Yoshimi” and would sound more at home on Beck’s Mutations than on New Order’s Substance."
- Adam Gold
Nashville SCENE Critic's Pick
"organic, gritty, emotional and therefore fascinatingly, uniquely appealing"
- Rick Allen
Vintage Guitar Magainze
"These dudes are New Wave revivalism at its sharpest. Think The Cars, Devo, et cetera, et cetera. There's even a song that features some sort of effect that sounds like a robotic bong rip. I like."
- D. Patrick Rodgers
"Some of the freshest music I've heard all year. Spaced out pop songs. Really solid stuff. Stream it, download it, share it. Mad props for such an ace debut EP."
"dark indie-electronica that’s absolutely delectable"
- Cecilia Jarebäck
- Steph Geoghegan