Usually, bios that include the phrases “neo-no-wave,” “Gang of Four” and “angular post-punk” are surefire signs that the band isn’t going to sound fresh. Belonging to a scene now saturated by hipster wieners, the likelihood of finding an original band in this sub-subgenre has become brutally slim. Fortunately, it only took four Swedes and five songs to vanquish my skepticism and re-ignite my faith in post-punk.
Hailing from Stockholm, Sweden, the Je Ne Sais Quoi is among an elite group of bands that have perfected their sound on the first try. The band’s debut EP, Secret Language, combines lo-fi jams and bad-ass straightforwardness into a sound that, though not totally original, at least stands on its own. Opener “Death of Them,” with its thumping rhythm and soft vocals, plays out like a Q and Not U track, whilst “Minstrel Show” maintains a degree of smugness reminiscent of Hot Snakes.
With a style that could only be found in Europe and a devotion to coarse simplicity, the Je Ne Sais Quoi is a post-punk band of higher standards. Secret Language is a coherent and textured effort that is as hip as it is artful.