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Music / Caravan Palace

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Don't panic, just Swing!
Hey, brother, what you thinking?
Leave that old record spinning
You feel the rhythm going
They call it lonely diggin'
"Lone Digger"


Caravan Palace is an Electro Swing band hailing from Paris, France.

So far, they have released:

  • Caravan Palace (2008)
  • Panic (2012)
  • <I°_°I> (2015note )
  • Chronologic (2019)
  • Gangbusters Melody Club (2024)
Current Singles:

This band provides examples of:

  • Ambiguous Syntax: "Don't leave the party dying." is a lyric in "Lone Digger" In context of the music video's Bar Brawl, one can parse it as "Don't leave the party [by] dying".
  • Album Title Drop: Of the music video variety; the first of the title cards in the "Rock It For Me" music video simply reads Panic!
  • Alien Invasion: The subject of the "Rock It For Me" music video.
  • Animated Music Video: Occasionally ventured into with different results. The video for "Jolie Coquine" features Stop Motion animation, the videos for "Lone Digger" and "Wonderland" feature different types of 2D animation (the former involving Rotoscoping), and the video of "Rock It For Me" features a mix of 2D and 3D animation.
  • Animal Jingoism: In the "Lone Digger" video, we have a trio of cat-people sitting at a table across from a group of dog-people. Guess what happens. Answer: NOTHING GOOD.
  • Art Deco: The music videos for "Suzy" and "Rock It For Me" display this style of aesthetic.
  • Art Initiates Life: The video for "Supersonics" features various characters in colorful street art coming to life, occasionally leaping into the 3D world, even managing to rope in a curious onlooker into their 2D world. Hijinx ensues.
  • Break the Cutie: The robot from the "Plume" video seems to genuinely want to get along with the regular citizens in Tokyo, but for various reasons, he gets constantly rejected. The climax involves him finally integrating into a group of Cosplayers and even confessing to one of them, who seems to reciprocate... until she realizes his robot head is Not a Mask. And then he gets run over by a car.
  • Call-Back: "About You" can be seen as a follow-up to "Wonderland", both both involving the same female singer and her badass attitude. Except "About You" implies it's not fake this time.
  • Colour-Coded for Your Convenience: In the "Wonderland" video, the real world is depicted in blue and cool purple, whereas the main character's Dream Land is depicted in red and warm purple.
  • Cover Drop: The club featured in the "Lone Digger" has the titular robot face as a logo.
  • Cover Version:
  • Crossover Punchline: The video for "Moonshine" ends with the flat-Earther protagonist reaching the edge, breaking through... and ending up in the strip club from "Lone Digger". For bonus points, he's implied to be the donkey.
  • Dance Battler: The Humongous Mecha from "Rock It For Me" manages to wipe out an entire alien invasion BY DANCING.
  • Darker and Edgier: <I°_°I> can be considered this, with the music taking influence from harder, more raw electronic styles, with slightly moodier melodies even in the comparatively brighter pieces. Also, the music videos range from symbolically confusing to outright horrifying.
  • Design Student's Orgasm: The video to "Wonderland" is far less literal and narrative-driven than most of the band's videos, instead featuring more vibrantly artsy, stylish, yet surreal and dream-like animation throughout the whole thing.
  • Disaster Dominoes: "Lone Digger". One of the dogs trips the waitress, spilling milk on the cats who respond by killing one of the dogs. In the meantime, a snake takes the opportunity to attack the waitress which attracts the attention of the bouncer. The death of the dog leads to the bouncer getting distracted when he is sprayed by the blood. The distraction allows the snake to lethally poison him while one of the dog's friends takes vengeance on the cat by ripping his throat out. Another dog receives a nasty chest wound by one of the cats while the other dog gets the thin end of a comb shoved in his eye. The bouncer literally rips the snake in half length-wise and other members of the bar join the fight when they are enraged by being sprayed with blood. In less than a minute, 90% of the people in the bar are dead.
  • Disposable Sex Worker: In "Lone Digger", this is both subverted and Inverted! The bar fight is kicked off by a scantily-clad waitress spilling a drink on someone, but he ignores her to attack the one who deliberately tripped her. Then a second patron tries to attack the waitress, for no apparent reason, but the bouncer stops him at the last second. The whole time, no one attacks the stripper, and the video ends on her only just noticing that everyone around her is dead.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: In "Lone Digger", the club fight starts when one of the dogs trips the waitress causing her to spill her drinks on the cats. One of the cats slashes the throat of the top dog then one of the snakes takes the opportunity to try to eat the waitress. After it's all said and done, 90% of the people in the bar are dead over a couple spilled glasses of milk.
  • Drunk on Milk: The cats in "Lone Digger" seemly get wasted drinking milk. Also, whatever the dogs are drinking, it isn't scotch or whiskey.
  • Electro Swing: One of the most recognized names in the genre. Somewhat uniquely in that the "swing" part of the music is all performed by live musicians rather than sampling vintage jazz records.
  • Eye Scream: One of the dogs in "Lone Digger" gets the thin end of a comb shoved into his eye.
  • Finishing Each Other's Sentences: Half the call and response in the refrain of "Miracle" is the two vocalists each singing half of a pair of sentences.
    (Help one another) connect back with the people
    (Give it to your lover) and all the people you miss
  • Fish out of Water: The music video for "Plume" features an alien robot crash-landing in Tokyo and trying to blend in with the locals. It sadly doesn't go well for him, and in the moments where it does, it's not for long.
  • Funny Animal: Of the "Lone Digger" video. "Funny" in this context could be a bit of a stretch, though.
  • Gangbangers: The video for "Midnight" centers on two Compton street hoods, their rise to power, and defeat at the hands of ... a vigilante cowboy?
  • Genre Mashup: Again, goes without saying. They play gypsy jazz mixed with French house/techno and electro influences.
  • Humongous Mecha: The giant swinging robot in the video for "Rock It For Me" is this, almost 50 feet high.
  • Icarus Allusion: The lyrics of "Plume" invoke the imagery of the myth — an invitation to ride on the singer's feathers all the way to the sun — to describe what sounds like a spicy rendezvous.
  • Impromptu Tracheotomy: How the first cat dies in "Lone Digger". One of the dogs rips his throat out with his teeth.
  • Indecipherable Lyrics: More often than not, the lyrics to some songs like "Rock It For Me" are drowned by the music or, in the case of Clash, sampled from other songs and scrambled, leading to this trope.
  • Interplay of Sex and Violence: The — erm... climax of the "Lone Digger" video has a very bloody fight in a strip club, with the stripper continuing to dance even as blood splashes all around her.
  • Jungle Princess: The conquistador of the "Miracle" music video encounters a hoard of Nubile Savage women, led by this. This is all subverted, however, when it's revealed that he's the primitive one and has been abducted by a technologically advanced society.
  • Lighter and Softer: Panic, while building off many of the upbeat swing and jazz elements from their self-titled album, tones down the loud, rustic aesthetic for a relatively softer and more gentle sound.
  • Lucky Charms Title: <I°_°I>, officially just pronounced as Robot Face. According to this Reddit AMA, it came from an email typing accident and someone said it looked like their mascot robot, so it stuck.
  • Lyrical Dissonance: The lyrics to "April" are soft and carefree in tone for the most part, mostly depicting cheerful, natural imagery, but are offset by the recurring line "April, please, lower your gun". What it actually means is anyone's guess, but it changes the atmosphere of the song considerably.
  • Mascot: Their unnamed robot has appeared on all their album covers (and with the case of <I°_°I> is both the album cover and the album title) and has appeared prominently in the music videos for "Suzy" and "Rock It For Me".
  • Medium Blending: The "Supersonics" video intermixes the live-action footage and 2D street art come to life, with characters repeatedly jumping between the two realms either as live human performers or stylized animation.
  • Ms. Imagination: The bridge of "Wonderland" has the narrator wistfully noting that her gangster fantasies are just that — fantasies — and that she'll never be able to live out any of them in real life.
    I know all the best things never happen
    I'm just a random girl with gentle manners
  • Natural Weapon: Near the beginning of "Lone Digger", one of the cats checks his claws. Near the end, those claws are used, and things get messy.
  • New Sound Album: Chronologic features a more pop-oriented, vocal-centered sound than the other albums, which still placed more emphasis on instrumentals. Inverted with "MAD", which sounds more like their songs from their Self-Titled Album or Panic.
  • Oh, Crap!: The look on the two dogs' faces when their leader's throat is slashed open and he collapses in "Lone Digger".
    • The hoods at the end of "Midnight" when they realize the Midnight Cowboy is on their tail.
  • One-Word Title: Some of their songs:
    • "Miracle"
    • "Midnight"
    • "April"
  • Out with a Bang: One interpretation of the end of the "Miracle" music video.
  • Platonic Cave: A common interpretation of the video for "Comics". It features a masked lady in black watching over hordes of people in crab walks staring at the ground, until a trio notice their reflection from a puddle, causing them to notice the sky and instead turning towards it. This catches the masked lady's attention, and she flips them all back to re-impose her authority... and then everyone ditches her, leaving her alone and staring up at the sky herself.
  • Powered by a Forsaken Child: The end of the "Miracle" video. The supposed Mayan temple is actually an alien spaceship, powered by a hapless, seduced victim who either dies or is rendered catatonic in order to power it.
  • Rejection Affection: "About You" is a back-and-forth between a woman rejecting a man who keeps trying to pursue her. The latter implies the former might actually love him back beneath her attitude, though she never confirms or denies it.
  • Sampling: Zig-Zagged. The band mostly subverts using samples for the "swing" portion of their Electro Swing style, preferring to use authentic live instruments, but occasionally they'll slip in a vintage audio clip here and there, either of basic instrumentation or just Spoken Word in Music.
  • Scatting: Used quite frequently. They even have a song from their first album called Star Scat that's filtered through a vocoder.
  • Self-Titled Album: Their debut album, simply titled Caravan Palace.
  • Sex Is Violence: A notable part of "Lone Digger" has the stripper continuing to dance even as the club erupts into violence and she is sprayed with blood. She doesn't seem to notice this happening as she rubs the blood into her fur and closeups of her body keep coming in between shots of people getting torn apart.
  • Shared Universe: The ending of Moonshine ends with the video's main character ending up in the Lone Digger bar.
  • Shout-Out: The factory in "Rock It For Me" includes the gears from Modern Times and the "Moloch Machine" from Metropolis.
  • Siamese Twin Songs: Technically subverted with "Dramophone" and "Beatophone" from Panic, in that the songs don't play back-to-back, but otherwise fit the bill, having similar titles and similar beats.
  • Slashed Throat: This how the gorn starts in "Lone Digger". The head cat uses his claws to slash open the top dog's throat.
  • Slobs Versus Snobs: The conflict in "Lone Digger" appears to be based on this, although it's inverted from its usual use with animals: the dogs wear business suits while the cats are college students.
  • Snakes Are Sinister: The snake in the "Lone Digger" video attacks a waitress for no apparent reason than her tripping providing an opening. And when the bouncer subdues him non-violently, a second snake immediately bites him.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: "Lone Digger"'s dark, violent music video clashes strongly with the song's upbeat, catchy rhythms.
  • Spoken Word in Music: Mostly done through old samples, such as the break in the album version of "Dramophone" and the intro to "Mighty."
  • Spontaneous Choreography: In the "Dramaphone" music video, a group of bikers and a group of partying girls come close to fighting at a diner; the staff promptly breaks open a glass case containing a record disc and plays it, causing the two groups, the staff, and basically everyone in the vicinity to start dancing.
  • Stealth Insult: An obscure one:when the Flat-Earther in "Moonshine" shows up at the "Lone Digger" bar, the drink he gets is has a carrot as a garnish. The one character in "Lone Digger" who had a drink like that was the donkey. In other words, he's being called an ass.
  • Surreal Music Video: The video for "Comics" features a masked lady in black commanding mass hordes of people doing crab-walks.
  • Textless Album Cover: <I°_°I>, which consists of the aforementioned "robot" depicted as a neon sign.
    • Chronologic, which just features a bust of the band's robot mascot.
  • Tin-Can Robot:
    • A 1930s-style metallic robot is often featured on their album covers.
    • A gigantic classic retro-style is built in the music video of "Rock It For Me". A human-sized robot dances in the music video of "Suzy".
  • Title Track: There's one for Panic.
  • Word Salad Title: "Human Leather Shoes for Crocodile Dandies" from <I°_°I>. In the lyrical content there is for the song, there is still nothing that explains this title.
  • Zeerust: Their mascot bot is based on old scifi robots, and is used on all three album covers (and is even shopped from an existing image on their debut album) and the music videos for Rock It For Me and Suzy. The music video for Mighty also consists of several clips of robots both new and old.


Video Example(s):


Caravan Palace

Caravan Palace is a French Electro-Swing band based in Paris. The band's influences include Django Reinhardt, Vitalic, Lionel Hampton, and Daft Punk. The band released their debut studio album, Caravan Palace, on the Wagram label in October 2008. The record charted in Switzerland, Belgium, and France, where it reached a peak position of number 11.

The song example used is "Rock It For Me".

How well does it match the trope?

5 (5 votes)

Example of:

Main / ElectroSwing

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