What made the first two volumes of La Fine Equipe‘s La Boulangerie series great was the sliced soul samples played out over old skool hip hop drums. Many of the tracks seemed like beats rappers would kill for but for the four French beatmakers/DJs there is no need to dilute their craft with vocals. On La Boulangerie 3 the paradigm begins to shift. Not that they are using vocals–because they are not–but the quartet begins to indulge in some fly-by-night crazes that they have always seemed to be above. Instead of a cool world of haunting soul music and boom bap beats, the listener gets a much different experience.
Opener, “Talkin Pastry,” may be the best track La Fine Equipe has ever released. Taking a page out of fellow country men C2C‘s book, the track follows a similar formula as “Down the Road” but with LFE’s own signature flair. It’s a banger of the highest regard. Similarly, “Make U Greedy” is great in its own regard but it see the group enter an overpopulated dance genre that they have never explored before. A memorable synth line, sped up vocal samples, and a handclap beat make for one of the best tracks on the album.
However the experimentation does not always pan out. LFE’s attempt at a Burial-style dark shuffle on “Crêpes crapuleuses” as does their version of FKA Twigs-esque experimental trip-hop. While these faulters on the album are not unlistenable, they are ignorable–something you would be hard pressed to say on previous editions of La Boulangerie. The high-points on the album immediately shoot to the top of their most memorable tracks but there is just a bit too much filler to make this feel like a full on success.