Frànçois & The Atlas Mountains,  Banane Bleue (Domino)

What would it sound like if the 1966 transistor AM airwaves were hijacked by a yawning, bedheaded gaggle of Euro gypsies who, in attempting to faithfully mimic the solid gold sounds of the era, were just too stoned and warped to color completely within the lines? Sure, you have the sunshine hooks in great abundance, the breezed-out choruses specifically designed to soundtrack coastal road trips, the hippy-dippy band moniker and song titles (“Banane Bleue” translates to “The Blue Banana”), but lead banana Frànçois Marry and fellow borderline-homeless collaborator Jaakko Eino Kalevi (plus the decidedly non-homeless Renaud Letang) just can’t help throwing slight stylistic imperfections into the mix, an out-of-tune flute here, a jaunty xylophone there, to completely and pleasingly sabotoge the template. Single “Coucou” is easily one of the best slices of sugar rush French pop this side of 2020, and nonchalant, effortlessly catchy slices of glee like “Tourne Autour” and “Lee-Ann & Lucy” rank among the best tracks of the year, period.