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Various Artists - Source Rocks (Virgin)

While France remains the darling of the international music scene and the adoration that laps at their shores seems like it will last for ever, the very title of Source Rocks should be enough to remind our dear French friends that popularity is a fickle thing. We might as a nation shake our collective bottoms to their funky French beats, but we will never, ever, accept French rock as a source of anything other than embarrassment. However our fine Gallic chums are merely enjoying a little joke with us, Source Rocks is not, as we feared, a compilation of shitty soft-rock tracks sung in French to the tune of 'Take My Breathe Away'.

In fact, Source Rocks might be said to unfairly take advantage of your relief when the opening tracks fail to metamorphosize into lame Euro-rock anthems and cause you to believe that French music is in fact nothing less than genius. Source Rock's strength lies in its ability to meld the occasional indie-riff, sampled drum break and esoteric 60s style space music by the ghost of Baggy.

However it is not altogether fun and games. Oh no. Domino's 'L'Ultime Atome' is the bastard child of Mike Oldfield and Sky conceived in a lay-by a few miles from Slough, and if we're being unkind Ernest Saint Laurent's 'Moogie' is a meandering piece of shit. However with Scenario Rock's mix of tom-toms and tambourines shredded with a barbed guitar hook, Riff Hifi's upbeat 'The Wizz Song' and P Jack's 'Retro Futism' with its great slabs of bass, and ZFO's filthy dirty guitar licks Source does in a way, Rock.

by Robert Lowe.