When I ask whether their inclusion of musical “naffness” (Alphabetical, their second album, betrayed a penchant for 70s soft rock, for example) has been a conscious thing, Brancowitz replies with a typically rococo turn of phrase. He concedes it’s semi-conscious, but is, he says, always based on “an instinctive ravishment”.
Such un-English wording possibly accounts for the charm of their (English) lyrics. As Mars explains:
“We like doing lyrics that are cryptic and abstract, we leave out all the in-betweens, everything that makes sense. That’s impossible to do in French, because every word betrays what’s going on. In English you can put all these pieces together and create this weird, poetic thing.”
He pauses. “It’s very like French surrealism in a way.”