Here are the simple facts: France is sexy. The '60s are sexy. Sex is sexy. And women singing in sexy voices are very sexy. All of these things and more can be found on this, the soundtrack to Roman Coppola's directorial debut. I have not seen the film--set in Paris in 1969, it is apparently about science-fiction film directors and the supermodel/secret-agents that love them--but I am guessing that it too is quite sexy. And if it's not, you could just shut your eyes, listen to the music and think about sexy things.
With the exception of several carefully chosen French pop songs from the '60s, the largely instrumental soundtrack is written and performed by the Paris band Mellow. Underrated and often overshadowed by their colleagues in the more famous Air, Mellow use groovy beats, reverb-laden guitars and an orchestra dipped in syrup to dizzying effect. The resulting sound is somewhere between Bacharach and Stereolab--a James Bond score turned on its psychedelic ear.
CQ begins with three brilliant songs. "Seek You" is dreamy and vaguely Beatle-esque in its hook. "Code Name Dragonfly" is pure "Goldfinger," with swelling strings and an insinuating chorus: "Dragonfly/Seek you out from undercover/Could you be my lover?/Together we can flyyyy." Next comes the album's standout track, "Take Me Higher," a slow-burning, gradually building soul number led by Alison David's oozing, sultry vocals. "It would be so easy to light my fire," David sings over a hypnotic swirl of percussive bass, bending keyboards, sitar riffs and a distant, deranged men's choir.
Other highlights include "Rivoluzione 69," which echoes those songs where the Beastie Boys pick up their guitars, and "Absolute Free," a jazzy, space-age cut sparked by synth trombones and nervous violins. Rounding out the soundtrack are a few songs by such legendary French artists as Claude Francois and Jacque Dutronc. If you haven't already gotten on the bus and joined the latest French Revolution, this ain't a bad place to start.