While most French electro bands just take the easy DAFT PUNK way turning into DJs who do nothing but play their own music on CDs at shows, you’ll still find some more underground minimalistic acts that have more in common with German robotic genre originators KRAFTWERK. VELVET CONDOM (I know, you have to get used to the name!) is one of them, adding electric guitars and a noisy rock touch to their 80s synth driven pop. The vocals may sound familiar to some of you Veglam readers since Alice Von Glass is actually Alyss in Sparkling Bombs. As you would think that the digital duo is just one more 80s revivalist with opening track “Never Ever” (one of their best songs this being said), you will quickly change your mind after “Teenage Innocence” reminding more of experimental early 90s pop/shoegazing (a musical style that can be boring on the long run but also interesting when used thriftily like they do) and bands like MY BLOODY VALENTINE. “Talented Boy”, “Spiritualized” or “Self Injury” are closer to 80s new wave such as The CURE or NEW ORDER but the duo borrows from the style without falling into kitsch or cheap imitation like it has been happening too many times these last years. VELVET CONDOM also has a tendency to experiment with styles and is not afraid to give into the difficult electro ballad genre with songs like “My Own Tragic Escape” and its DEPECHE MODE/AIR references or “Seduce And Kill Her”. The darkest side of VELVET CONDOM can be found in tracks like “Numbed” (one of my personal favourites on here) and its SUICIDE-like synthetic rock’n’roll bass or in the creepy incestuous “Silky Lolita” and its bluesy guitar mixed to mechanical drum machine beats. As you probably have guessed by now, VELVET CONDOM is not your typical 80s revival party electro band dressed up in flashy colours and I won’t complain about it since they managed to mix the danceable pop elements of the genre to darker experimental ones ingeniously on this first album. Elegant for sure, but probably not as safe as the album title suggests./Laurent C.