Carla Bruni, the former first lady of France, returns to music with her first album in almost five years. French Touch is an album of covers, and fans of Nouvelle Vague will no doubt see this is as a release that pays homage to their quirky, clever brand of French re-engineering.
She begins with an exquisite treatment of Depeche Mode's Enjoy the Silence, which proves to be the standout moment of a relatively thin album. What follows are cafe-style reworkings of songs by The Clash, Ketty Lester, The Rolling Stones, Abba and more. Jimmy Jazz is reimagined as, you guessed it, a jazzy, smoky speakeasy song; Love Letters seems like an early album filler; while Miss You is all breathy vocals and lo-fi funk. Her take on The Winner Takes It All is better, although it is really hard to provide an upgrade on the original to start with.
The rest of French Touch seems pretty standard fare. The song choices aren't especially interesting or expansive – Perfect Day, Crazy (although this track does benefit from input from Willie Nelson) and Moon River, to name but three – and it all serves to underline that clever albums of covers are very difficult to put together.