Tag: Lola Dutronic

A Synth Is For Life & Not Just For Christmas…

Remember, a synth is for life and not just for Christmas...As the Yule Tide season gets into full swing, ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK presents a collection of modern seasonal tunes with a more artful slant…

With a song to play on each of The Twelve Days of Christmas, some are covers with a modern approach while others gather their thoughts and emotions into original compositions. But each has their own take on the holiday period, whether happy or sad or both.

Synths at Christmas are not entirely new; ‘Last Christmas’ by WHAM! was primarily made with a Roland Juno 60 while BAND AID’s ‘Do They Know It’s Christmas? was dominated by PPG Wave 2.2 with a percussive sample taken from ‘Memories Fade’ by TEARS FOR FEARS also being key to the intro.

However the traditional nature of Christmas often dictates traditional instrumentation in its songs, which means that Christmas synth songs are comparitively uncommon and a more recent phenomemon. Whatever your plans whether with the family or in the studio, please remember, a synth is for life and not just for Christmas… may it bring you lots of cheer 🎹🎄😉

CHEW LIPS When You Wake Up (2010)

CHEW LIPS may be on hiatus but in 2010, on the back of their only album ‘Unicorn’ and its subsequent tour, they were on a productive high. ‘When You Wake Up’ was a bonus tune recorded and given away as a Christmas gift to fans at the end of that very successful year. Delivered with lead singer Tigs’ usual feisty panache, listening back only highlights how much CHEW LIPS are missed.

Originally released as a free download


ERASURE Gaudete (2013)

ERASURE GaudeteAndy Bell and Vince Clarke’s version of this traditional Ecclesiastical Latin carol continued an ERASURE tradition that had begun in 1988 with ‘God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen’ for the CD edition of the ‘Crackers International’ EP in 1988. With a precise electronic backbeat, ‘Gaudete’ was taken from its 16th Century origins and thrown into the new millennium whilst still retaining its original essence with a cheeky ‘Ice Machine’ reference for good measure.

Available on the album ‘Snow Globe’ via Mute Artists


HURTS All I Want For Christmas Is New Year’s Day (2010)

Hurts-christmasWith their TAKE THAT dressed as ULTRAVOX template having achieved great success in Europe, courtesy of their debut album ‘Happiness’, Theo Hutchcraft and Adam Anderson parradoxically turned their attentions to memories of “the worst Christmas of our lives”. In true Bros Go To Bavaria style, despite the mournful start, ‘All I Want For Christmas Is New Year’s Day’ steadily transformed itself into a hopeful anthem with a big chorus and lashings of tubular bells.

Available on the download single ‘All I Want for Christmas Is New Year’s Day’ via Major Label / RCA


HYPERBUBBLE A Synthesizer for Christmas (2013)

HYPERBUBBLE A Synthesizer for ChristmasWhether it was a Casio, Yamaha or Roland, everyone wanted ‘A Synthesizer For Christmas’. Texan couple HYPERBUBBLE took that enduring memory and turned it into a delightful synthpop ditty that could resonate with electronic geeks from eight to eighty the world over. Short but sweet, it was another joyous “cartoon automaton symphony” from Jess and Jeff.

Available on the download single ‘A Synthesizer For Christmas’ via Socket Sounds


LOLA DUTRONIC Another Christmas Without Snow (2010)

Lola Dutronic-Christmas without snowIn the UK, a wet Christmas is always more likely,  but LOLA DUTRONIC’s ‘Another Christmas Without Snow’ resonated with its melancholic yet pretty demeanour. The project of Canadian producer Richard Citroen and using a flexible roster of wispy female vocalists, the tones of Lola Dee came over all dreamy like SAINT ETIENNE and conveyed the season’s mixed emotions.

Available on the download single ‘(Another) Christmas Without Snow’ via Lola Dutronic


MARSHEAUX We Met Bernard Sumner At A Christmas Party Last Night (2015)

GHOSTS-OF-CHRISTMAS-PAST-twi158cd‘We Met Bernard Sumner At A Christmas Party Last Night’ is a wonderfully whispery synthpop number that is classic MARSHEAUX. The lyrics are constructed from the song and album titles of NEW ORDER to provide an imaginary narrative on Marianthi Melitsi and Sophie Sarigiannidou surreally bumping into the Manchester combo’s lead singer at a Yule Tide function.

Available on the album ‘Ghost Of Christmas Past Remake)’ (V/A) via Les Disques du Crépuscule


HANNAH PEEL Find Peace (2014)

HANNAH PEEL Find Peace‘Find Peace’ is a Christmas song longing for the cold but merry winters of yesteryear under the modern day spectre of global warming, armed conflict and political tension. It is certainly a suitably poignant message for the festive season. With hints of GAZELLE TWIN, the off-kilter analogue buzzing and almost random sequences make for a striking listen as a frantic percussive death rattle and an emotive synth drone take hold to provide an appropriate backdrop for HANNAH PEEL’s eerie but beautiful voice.

Available on the download and 7 inch single ‘Find Peace’ via Snowflakes Christmas Singles Club


PET SHOP BOYS It Doesn’t Often Snow At Christmas (2009)

Pet_Shop_Boys_-_ChristmasOriginally recorded in 1997 for an exclusive fan club single but remixed in 2009 for an official release, ‘It Doesn’t Often Snow At Christmas’ was a suitably camp offering that couldn’t have been anyone else. Famous for keeping THE POGUES ‘Farytale Of New York’ off the 1987 UK Christmas No1 spot with their cover of ‘Always On My Mind’, while this didn’t hit those commercial heights, it provided a very PET SHOP BOYS take on the madness of the festive season.

Available on the EP ‘Christmas’ via EMI Records


SIN COS TAN Dead By X-Mas (2016)

A cover of Finnish metal glamsters HANOI ROCKS, this take on ‘Dead By X-Mas’ from the nocturnal synth duo SIN COS TAN aka Juho Paalosmaa and Jori Hulkkonen came over a bit like BILLY IDOL gone electro, but with an elegiac twist. Bizarrely in 2006, the former William Broad issued his own collection of seasonal themed tunes entitled ‘Happy Holidays’ … it’s a nice day for a ‘White Christmas!

Available as a free download


SPARKS Christmas Without A Prayer (2015)

SPARKS Christmas Without A PrayerBack in 1974 for their ‘Kimono My House’ album, the Mael brothers recorded a song called ‘Thank God It’s Not Christmas’, a typically perverse SPARKS romp that had nothing to do as such with the holiday season. Currently enjoying their highest profile since their pop heyday, thanks to their FFS collaboration with FRANZ FERDINAND, Russell and Ron ended the year with ‘Christmas Without A Prayer’, a fitting offering which also amusingly outlined that albums by WINGS were actually unwanted gifts.

Available on the download single ‘Christmas Without A Prayer’ via Lil’ Beethoven Records


VICE VERSA Little Drum Machine Boy (2015)

“A twisted cover of a cover of a cover”, this synth laden reinterpretation of the tune (based on a traditional Czech carol) made famous by a bizarre but highly enjoyable version by David Bowie and Bing Crosby, saw former ABC stalwarts Mark White and Stephen Singleton reconvene as  VICE VERSA to wax lyrical about 303s, 808s, 909s and a “shiny new Roland toy”. It was a fabulous combination of sleigh bells, squelching arpeggios and of course, drum machines…

Available as a free download


VILE ELECTRODES The Ghosts Of Christmas (2013)

VILE ELECTRODES The Ghosts Of ChristmasIf ‘Twin Peaks’ met ‘Leader Of The Pack’ under the mistletoe, it would sound like this. Possibly the best Christmas tune of the last five or ten years, Anais Neon’s harrowing tale of a departed loved one is strangely enticing, with the beautifully haunting echoes of JULEE CRUISE’s ‘The Nightingale’ lingering over the frozen lake.

Available on the EP ‘The Ghosts Of Christmas’ via Vile Electrodes


A further varied collection of seasonal synth based tunes compiled by ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK can be listened to at: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/7vIIjZkGd3cVOSarUPvX85

Text by Chi Ming Lai
9th December 2018, updated 8th December 2020

LOLA DUTRONIC Everyone’s A Star

Following on from the Jean Luc Goddard soundtrack in the 21st Century mini-album of ‘Musique’ featuring the dreamy Martin Rev co-write ‘Whisper’, LOLA DUTRONIC’s new long player ‘Everyone’s A Star’ develops on their established JANE BIRKIN meets SAINT ETIENNE template.

The album’s lead single ‘Everybody Loves You When You’re Dead’ features backing vocals from Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth of TOM TOM CLUB and TALKING HEADS fame. Of LOLA DUTRONIC’s exquisite German vocalist Stephanie B, Weymouth said: “I wish she were our singer!”

The song itself is a bittersweet roll of honour wryly reflecting on society’s obsession with flawed deceased characters. Michael Des Barres, one time live vocalist of THE POWER STATION and co-writer of ANIMOTION’s international smash ‘Obsession’ commented: “Premature deaths may mean legendary status but there’s a down side – you’re dead! This witty, poignant song and clever video has a dual purpose – to entertain and enlighten. It does both”.

Continuing a theme from previous EP ‘New York Stories’ which featured five CBGB era covers such as BLONDIE’s ‘In The Sun’, ‘Everyone’s A Star’ contains a trio of reinterpretations including a monotone take on DIRE STRAITS ‘Sultans Of Swing’ in the style of TRANS-X’s ‘Living On Video’, a cute girl rendition of ‘Girl On A Carousel’ and an atmospheric electronic update of ‘L’Amour Est Bleu’, a Gallic pop tune which first found prominence by coming 4th in the 1967 Eurovision Song Contest.


Performed by Greek songstress VICKY LEANDROS for those perennial contest cheats Luxembourg, she eventually won the 1972 contest with the ultimate guilty pleasure ‘Apres Toi’. Over the years, the Grand Duchy have engaged the services of Frenchman SERGE GAINSBOURG, Spanish maidens BACCARA and Belgian punk PLASTIC BERTRAND in their various attempts to win!

All the other songs are original tracks written by LOLA DUTRONIC main man Richard Citroen. Of those, there is the sublime ballad ‘On My Radio’, the sweet VANESSA PARADIS twirl of the title track and the breathy piano based dance grandeur of ‘Last Night A DJ Ruined My Life’.. Meanwhile, ‘Happy Birthday’ sweetly borrows the chord progression from Pachelbel’s ‘Canon’ à la ‘Go West’.

Call it electro Yé-yé, LOLA DUTRONIC happily continue their heavenly tradition of chouchou et chichi sophistication on ‘Everyone’s A Star’.

With thanks to Marty Thau

‘Everyone’s A Star’ released by Red Star Digital Music as a digital download and CD




Text by Chi Ming Lai
20th October 2012


Boys Are Just So Silly Sometimes

LOLA DUTRONIC are Lola Dee and Richard Citroen, a charming duo who divide their time between Berlin, Toronto and Paris.

Although the brand has already released several albums, their present guise has only been together since 2008 with the album ‘In Berlin’ which featured DAVID BOWIE’s renowned pianist Mike Garson.

Aided by the use of lush electronics, their sound is a chichi homage to classic French and British artists such as SERGE GAINSBOURG, FRANÇOISE HARDY, PETULA CLARK and JOHN BARRY. This nostalgia-tinged soundtrack inevitably recalls the Nouvelle Vague imagery of ALAIN DELON and BRIGITTE BARDOT in a JEAN-LUC GODARD cinematic classic.

With a new single ‘Whisper’, featuring the talents of SUICIDE’s Martin Rev as co-writer, their seven track ‘Musique’ EP has now been relaunched to the wider public. Originally released in May, it features reworkings of LOLA DUTRONIC’s better known French and English language tracks plus some new songs. In all, it is a marvellous musical showcase with lots of stark beats and warm synths accompanying Lola’s sexy, breathy vocals.

Opening song ‘My Radio (French Disco Mix)’ is the sort of Eurocentric tune that PET SHOP BOYS’ Neil Tennant used to refer to as a Princess Stephanie record, a concept that he and Chris Lowe adopted with EIGHTH WONDER’s ‘I’m Not Sacred’.

Earlier single ‘Brigitte Bardot (Retro Future Mix)’ is revamped into a bleepy midpaced shuffle with a gorgeous accented monologue and “la-la-la-la-la” refrain which turns out to be a bit of a LOLA DUTRONIC trademark. An amusing tale of dealing with the fragile male ego, Lola just shrugs her shoulders at a disco where the DJ plays music that no-one can dance to and exclaims “Some boys have some very silly ideas about music don’t they?”.

Recalling SAINT ETIENNE and INTASTELLA, another brilliant new composition ‘Beautiful World (Slight Return)’ does exactly what it says on the tin. ‘The Stranger (Imaginary Bond Mix)’ hints at MARC ALMOND’s ‘Only The Moment’ but with synthesized backing while ‘Chanson D’ete (Summer Of Love Mix)’ is the type of cute uptempo pop that Sarah Cracknell, Bob Stanley and Peter Wiggs always did so well. Finally, the drum machine of OMD’s ‘Enola Gay’ is mashed up with ERASURE’s ‘Blue Savannah’ for the EP’s wonderful closer ‘Best Years Of Our Lives (Electro Mix)’. Lyrically, it’s a close relative to PULP’s ‘Something Changed’.

‘Musique’ is a superb introduction to the lounge friendly stylings of LOLA DUTRONIC. Those with sophisticated aural tastes will certainly appreciate the neo-Gallic romanticism and elegance alongside la musique electronique.

With thanks to Marty Thau

The ‘Musique’ EP is available now on Red Star Digital Music



Text by Chi Ming Lai
9th October 2010, updated 1st July 2017