Bijou was billed on the shrink wrap of its debut LP as France’s top punk band. Considering how mild and derivative of basic rock’n’roll moves they are — there are musical quotes all over the LP — this says little for the Gallic sense of rock in revolt. Bijou plays with no frills and few surprises; kind of poppy here (especially the earlier stuff), more boogieoid there, a token “arty” touch or bit of ’60s nostalgia, a modest rockabilly orientation (Bijou Bop), and so on. Very few tracks (aside from the live En Public) are as long as four minutes, with most barely reaching three.
What makes the trio likable is their almost naive enthusiasm, which is supported by confident playing ability that strengthened with each album. Bijou loves what they’re doing and don’t want to change it, only to hone it; even cutting Pas Dormir in LA under the supervision of Sparks’ Ron and Russell Mael made little difference, except to underline the melodies. The lyrics (for those conversant en français) range from corny and jokey (especially the first LP) to flippantly snotty and angry- young-rocker, with an increasing degree of wit. Jamais Domptés is their best overall show of strength.