Another straight-forward rock track by Coalition Records, The Je Ne Sais Quoi very successfully use synthesizers and a strong set of late sixties rock/punk influences (MC5, Iggy Pop) to make a very vibrant and current style of rock. Maybe not as immediately catchy as their neighbors the Sahara Hotnights, The Je Ne Said Quoi are a very danceable, bat-shit crazy type of band. Each track has a completely different style from the tracks that immediately pre and proceeded it, but contain that same type of goof-ball feel that makes “We Make Beginnings” oh so fun! The synthesizer, while having some sort of retro charm to it, still works with the bleeding-edge sound that issues from the Je Ne Sais Quoi’s guitars. The first true radio single on “We Make Beginnings” is “Stress Test”, and the aural hooks present on the track (almost doing a double duty as an instrument) are driving and powerful. The wide open spaces in “Stress Test” may seem to some to be a weakness on the track, but The Je Ne Sais Quoi are cognoscent enough to allow the perfect amount of this dead air to pass before going back into the funky rock stylings which they are known.
The double-harmonization present on a track like “White Nights” is on-target, the two voices joining together to make one beyond all expectations. The extended drum solo present on “White Nights” just showcases another above-average aspect of The Je Ne Sais Quoi – while all the arrangements are intense, they are also tightly played and never once on “We Make Beginnings” can the instrumentation be said to be sloppy. What is scary though is that their track “2004” is eerily reminiscent of Carl Klang’s “Blinded By The Light”, from the opening beats of the track to the guitar lying lightly over the backdrop.
The only complaint that can be levied against The Je Ne Sais Quoi is that “We Make Beginnings” is mastered a little too perfectly – sure, some of the spontaneity shines through to the average listener, but this is not someone with a DAT at a live show. Perhaps a live LP – like Kiss’ Alive, may be more beneficial to The Je Ne Sais Quoi’s fan. Don’t get me wrong, though, “We Make Beginnings” is one of the best albums to come out of Europe this year, and may just be the savior of real rock along with bands like Franz Ferdinand and The Killers.
Top Tracks: 2004, The Real Future Blues
The Je Ne Sais Quoi – We Make Beginnings / 2004 Coalition Records / 10 Tracks / http://www.cilla.com/tjnsq / http://www.coalition-records.com / Reviewed 23 January 2005