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The French-American romance has always been rocky. But their latest lovers’ spat—in which the former declined the latter’s invitation to dinner and a war, and the latter retaliated by making an indelicate reference to the former’s age—has been particularly nasty. Fortunately, here comes DAT Politics, a trio of laptop-wielding loonies from Lille, with a new album to patch things up. By turns jittery, brilliant, and goofy, Plugs Plus proves that, when it comes to electronica, Old Europe still has it going on. Like label standard-bearers Chicks on Speed, the DAT Politickers like their music messy, and they’ve checked their Gallic seriousness at the studio door. The results are scattershot and occasionally nerve-fraying, but hey, an occasional frayed nerve can be salutary. Besides, when the band isn’t irking the bejesus out of you, it’s winning you over with childish melodies, playful sounds, and downright infantile lyrics, the best of which have to do with eating sardines morning, noon, and night. Food’s the theme of Plugs Plus—in addition to the sardine-obsessed “Morgens, Mittags,” songs include “Lovenoodle,” “Nudenoodle,” “Pie,” and the generic “Food”—but you get the idea these folks would just as soon play with their nourriture as eat it. “Re-folk” gets things going with some Woody Woodpecker-meets-Pee-wee Herman vocals and a sunny synthesized trumpet tag set against a backdrop of space squiggles and fuzzy static. The irresistible “Nitpickers” is a funk-fried gallop through a desert of computer static on a file with no name. “Food” is a dance-club paean to Classic Coke, all liquid grooves and farting noises set to a beat that just won’t take non for an answer. The high-spirited (if sophomoric) “Pass Our Class” features Kid606 and Matmos shouting, “If you want to pass our class/You have got to show your ass”—and is thus the perfect tool for introducing 10th-graders to electronica. And album centerpiece “Tout Bleu” is nothing less than four-and-a-half minutes of undiluted French genius and the greatest leap of faith since Blaise Pascal. Faith in what, you ask? In the ass-soul connection, of course: To shake the former is to reinvigorate the latter, something that Descartes forgot but that DAT Politics, whose “politics” run strictly to the utopian, seek to remind us of. —Michael Little