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Editorial Review

Album review: "Safari Disco Club"

Julie Budet doesn’t just want to have fun, although that’s not immediately obvious from “Safari Disco Club,” Yelle’s giddy second album. On the surface, this Breton dance-pop trio’s music is as cheerful and direct as Budet’s girlish vocals. The title tune may express (in French) the singer’s appetite for “a bite of your poisoned apple,” but its chorus could be sung in preschools: “Animals are dancing in the Safari Disco Club.”

Yelle (a name used for both the group and its vocalist) debuted six years ago with a lampoon of a misogynistic Parisian rapper. And Budet’s lyrics continue to have a feminist substrata, if only to claim women’s right to enjoyment. “La Musique,” for example, likens music to, uh, other pleasures.

This album refines the style of “Pop Up,” its predecessor, with stronger melodies and more richly textured production. The group includes a drummer, which may have encouraged a starker style in the past. This time, synth drums usually keep the beat, while the live percussion provides polyrhythmic accents. From the dancing steel drums of the title number to the woodblock clacks of “La Musique,” these additions neatly vary the sound. On first listen, “Safari Disco Club” is appealingly simple, but such details add depth — and staying power.

--Mark Jenkins, April 22, 2011