Since its eponymous 1997 debut album, Paris Combo has continually proven itself to be the Audrey Tautou of modern French music: at once young and impishly brash yet possessed of a noirish, captured-in-monochrome beauty and elegance. Another point at which these two Gallic names intersect: recognition. How many other modern Paris café bands -- performing self-penned songs and not chick-flick Francophonic standards, no less -- does the average record-store owner stock?
On Motifs, Paris Combo proves itself worthy of both comparison to and escape from its predecessors. Singer Belle du Berry, guitarist Potzi and trumpeter David Lewis compose fully formed impressionistic musical twirls of minor-key piano Serges, Django guitars and tropicalia vocal rounds on "Calendar," "Aquarium," and "Baguée." In fact, spinning -- be it in marriage, television or plain old everyday life -- seems to be the lyrical and musical "motif" on Motifs. Fitting, since the album finds Paris Combo coming full circle, from genre-bound café copycats to full-fledged champions of the revitalized Parisian melting-pot sound.