Yelle – Safari Disco Club

written by: April 11, 2011
Yelle - Safari Disco Club Album Cover Release Date: March 29, 2011


Yelle returns to the electronic scene with their second album Safari Disco Club. Fans of their first release Pop Up will be a little let down by this new album. The title is misleading because the album is not an adventure of any sort.

The first thing that stands out about Safari Disco Club is that every song sounds almost exactly the same. Unless the listener is trying to consciously differentiate between songs, Safari Disco Club will flash by without having picked up a thing. As an electronic band, the instruments can only go so far and the creativity of songs relies on behind-the-scenes sound manipulation and augmentation. Yelle did not do anything interesting in the studio to make this album keep your attention.

Sadly, the album sounds almost completely like filler and this is not due to a language barrier or understanding the lyrics. As a conversational French speaker, it would still be hard to tell one song from another. Yelle has turned away from their own brand of fun, bubbly, danceable electro-pop into a beeping bore that sounds more similar to a generic Metric song.

The vocals are so electronically processed that it seems as if the band was trying to cover up for a lack of talent instead of the effect actually adding to the songs. This is a pattern on the album and the result of the same filter being applied to almost every vocal track on the album makes Safari Disco Club sound like a Freeze-Pop song being played ten times on repeat.

“C’est pas une vie” (roughly “This is not a life”) is one of the songs that sticks out mainly because Yelle approached the album’s abuse of the verse-chorus-verse format with a little more creativity than the other songs. It has sad, yet poppy instrumental leads and the vocal melody is surprisingly catchy. The processed effects that Yelle used on the vocals on “C’est Pas Un Vie” also sound like a toned down version of Passion Pit and it works surprisingly well on this song.

“Mon pays” is another song that stands out above the others because it sounds so deliciously 80s. The opening synthesizer lead sounds like a more cheery version of The Cure during their darker 1980s Goth rock phase.

People who were expecting a club-banging polished follow-up to “A Cause de Garcons” and the remix that inspired the awesome dance music video that we all know and love will find that when they compare Safari Disco Club to Pop Up they will have to think “Wait, where did the bass and drums go?”

Safari Disco Club is almost an insult to the dance community as a whole. This album is tame. It isn’t exciting. It is almost like listening to an uninspired electronic keyboardist practicing the ever so generic four chord song structure over a metronome changing keys every three or four minutes.

When a band comes out with such as strong a debut release as Pop Up, their fans can’t wait to gobble up a second album. Sometimes this makes the artist choke and they churn out an album in about a year’s time to appease the labels, record executives and fans, which results in an album that does not have the magic that was put into the first, and it tanks.

In this case, there was almost a three-year gap between Pop Up and Safari Disco Club so there is no excuse for this album to be as bland as it is. Yelle didn’t try anything new; they didn’t experiment. In fact, they even crawled so deep into a musical “safe zone” I’m not sure if they can ever get out.

Typically when a band makes an album with commercially “safe” songs it was because their label forced them into making a “radio friendly” album to ensure sales. I don’t know if this was the case with Safari Disco Club, but if so, this plan will surely backfire.

Yelle was great the way they were, everyone loved how fun they were and other electronic musicians enjoyed remixing their tracks. They were well received by everyone and their mother. Yelle was not broken, so there was no need for them to be “fixed.” This album does not have anything exciting or stimulating about it.

To put it bluntly once again, where the fuck did the bass and drums go?

Yelle Safari Disco Club Tracklisting

  1. “Safari Disco Club”
  2. “Que veux-tu”
  3. “C’est pas une vie”
  4. “Comme un enfant”
  5. “Chimie physique”
  6. “La musique”
  7. “Mon pays”
  8. “J’ai bu”
  9. “Le grand saut”
  10. “Unillusion”
  11. “S’eteint le soleil”
  12. “Safari Disco Club (BeatauCue Remix)”
  13. “Que veux-tu (Madeon Extended Remix)”