Nouvelle Vague Nouvelle Vague 3

Some premises should have a limited lifespan, and that is very much true of Nouvelle Vague. Their cover versions of punk and new wave songs recast as easy-listening music are amusing and even innovative on initial listens, but novelty aside, they come across as being one trick ponies without any other ideas to fall back on. While Nouvelle Vague 3 is, on the surface, more of the same there is at least a little twist this time around: guest stars. And not just any guest stars. The band recruited some of the original artists, so Martin Gore, Ian McCulloch, Barry Adamson and Terry Hall show up on their own songs and add a little bit of contrast to the usual female vocals. The band also stretch themselves stylistically, in that some of the songs don't stray too far from the originals, especially Plastic Bertrand's "Ça Plane Pour Moi" and Soft Cell's "Say Hello Wave Goodbye." Those that do, such as the Police's "So Lonely" and Echo & the Bunnymen's "All My Colours," are the most successful simply because they bring with them smiles of recognition by the time the first chorus comes around. But at this point, it's all becoming redundant because when a gently strummed version of the Sex Pistols' "God Save The Queen" can neither shock nor amuse, it's a good time to put this one to bed. (Justin Time)