Louise Attaque is a French band founded in 1994. Its style could be described as something between chanson and folk-rock, although it has evolved since their first album Louise Attaque, which sold more than 2 million copies without any tv or radio promotion.
Several of the group's albums were produced by Gordon Gano, lead singer of Violent Femmes, a band which Louise Attaque often cite as an influence and for whom their own band is named: "Louise" is a feminine name, taken from Louise Michel –a french anarchist militant in France in the nineteenth century– and "attaque" connotates violence, it literally means "attack" in French –in reference of the Violent Femmes.
Climb to the top (1990-2001)
Lead singer and guitarist Gaëtan Roussel and bassist Robin Feix met in high school in Montargis. They moved to Paris after graduation where they met drummer Alexandre Margraff and formed a rock band : Caravage (named after the famous Italian painter Caravaggio). After briefly hiring a lead guitarist, the band met violinist Arnaud Samuel while recording in a Parisian studio.
Louise Attaque's phenomenal success (1997-2001)
Louise Attaque was formed in 1994. The name means "Louise Attacks" in French and is in reference of Louise Michel, a 19th century anarchist, and of the American rock band The Violent Femmes (which means "violent women" in French). The Violent Femmes leader, Gordon Gano, has agreed to produce Louise Attaque's debut self-titled album.
Louise Attaque was released in april 1997, receiving a strong positive critical response. Despite low initial radio airplay, the reputation of the group spread rapidly, garnering particular praise for its innovative violin-based folk/rock compositions and witty lyrics. By the end of the year, Louise Attaque had already become a phenomenon, and with the help of a highly successful tour throughout France, the band had sold more than 400 000 units. Louise Attaque eventually went on to sale an impressive 2.5 million copies in France, a record for any French rock album (even outselling Noir Désir's highly popular 666667 Club album, released in 1996).
It took almost three years until Louise Attaque 's sophomore album Comme On A Dit was released (in january 2000), still produced by Gordon Gano. The album met expectations of fans and critics alike, a complex and daring effort that still evoked Louise Attaque 's now famous trademark. It was noted, however, that Comme On A Dit was darker than the debut album, and consequently less radio friendly. It still sold 700 000 copies in France. Yet in 2001, after touring for five months and appearing in various rock festivals, the band split up, explaining that they were temporarily out of inspiration and tired of the hype and pressure surrounding them.
From separation to reunion (2001-2005)
Tarmac & Ali Dragon
Louise Attaque actually broke in two different groups. Singer Gaëtan Roussel and violinist Arnaud Samuel formed Tarmac, while bassist Robin Feix and drummer Alexandre Margraff formed Ali Dragon. Tarmac is the name of a building products company, whose name is often used to refer to asphalt (bitume in French). The group aims to explore the starker sounds of acoustic instruments, while Ali Dragon has turned towards underground experimental music featuring jam sessions (mostly electro and hip-hop).
À Plus Tard Crocodile
The four members of the group reunited in 2003 to pen a few songs, though at this point they didn't know whether they would release their material. After recording for a few weeks in the Electric Ladyland studios in New York, Louise Attaque finally decided to release a (highly anticipated) third album. À Plus Tard Crocodile was released in september 2005. The title is in reference of the rock and roll song See You Later Alligator (funnily enough, "à plus tard crocodile" is a calque of the American catchphrase, which gives an unidiomatic expression in French).
À Plus Tard Crocodile was said to be quite a departure from Louise Attaque 's previous work, a lighter and more varied album. Still, the group met with critical and chart success once again.