Greatest Hits is not what is says it is. That would be quite a feat for a band who only emerged on the public radar three years ago. It's rather a title of typical Gallic irreverence for a rugged collection of songs made for (and by) drunks, laggards, fly-by-nights and rapscallions; an absinthe-addled evening at the cabaret with all the unsavoury excitements and queasy psychedelia you might expect. dOP are cast in the same musical mould as their friends and Circus cohorts, Noze, and that means they sing, play live instruments, like jazz, have charisma and drink. But whereas their hat-sporting compatriots cavort raucously in a debauched bedlam, on their debut album, the trio of Damian Van de Sande, Clement Zemstov and Jonathan Illel come across as tipsily debonair, like a Rocky Horror Tim Curry without the limp wrist.
The allusion to the film is particularly appropriate. Greatest Hits is pierced with cinematic poise throughout thanks to the underlying orchestral score by soundtrack composer, Emmanuel d'Orlando. At times Carry On ("L'Hopital, La Rue, La Prison"), at others 007 ("1 Gram"), the pit below the footlights provides accompaniment to dOP's maverick direction and feels more comfortable, strangely, the darker things become ("Happy Meal" and "Love Ride" are practically out-takes from Wendy Carlos' soundtrack to The Shining). Darkness suits dOP and their ghoulishly burlesque aspect.
Those last two tracks need more than a parenthesis mention. "Happy Meal" is an especially dubious highlight. Musically, it's fairly flaccid (apart from the spooky timpani), but you can't help but be taken aback by the lyrics. Continuing the long-standing French love-affair with cannibalism that began with the Renaissance essayist Michel de Montaigne and reached fever pitch with Jean-Pierre Jeunet's Delicatessen, vocalist Jonathan Illel's insidious pronunciations on cooking "your brain with garlic and cream" and eating "your legs like scrambled eggs" confirm already sneaking suspicions that Greatest Hits is foremost a black comedy.
"Love Ride," on the other, more serious hand, is exemplary of the trio's successful transition from club 12-inch to album. The club roots are still there in the shape of rave sirens mutated from a banshee wail (so are the album roots, then), but they're proffered by broken beats best taken in away from the dance floor. Suddenly, halfway through, the sinister makes way for the serene as the melody takes a turn for the dainty. You wonder what it all means: Bipolar moods? Love? Ride? There's got to be some symbolism in that.
Elsewhere there are inclusions of what listeners have grown to expect from dOP's releases hitherto. "No More Daddy," "New York" and "3 Suitcases" all push the four-to-the-folk envelope at opportune moments and will no doubt see release as singles. But they're just interludes in this Pigalle showpiece that relies on sauciness rather than pace for its entertainment. So often a stumbling block for electronic artists, dOP and the album format meet like Brie and Bordeaux.
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Tracklist: dOP - Greatest Hits 01. Worm Hunting
02. No More Daddy
03. 1 Gram
04. Talk Show
05. Assurance Vie
06. Happy Meal
07. L' Hopital, La Rue, La Prison
08. U R
09. Lacy Lad
10. Love Ride
11. New York
12. Final Dive
13. 3 Suitcases
14. Deaf Wagrant
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