The press have managed to shape a large hook of Charlotte Gainsbourg’s past to hang her latest album IRM from. So I’m not going to over indulge in this, only to say, it had people clambouring for video clips of her infamous musical debut with her father, Serge Gainsbourg, as well as clips from her appearance in Antichrist which, being as we enjoy our movies on here, caught our attention with the titled trailer introduction “most shocking film in the history of the Cannes Film Festival by Anita Singh of the Sunday Telegraph”:
If you’re still with us and that hasn’t scared the crap out of half of you…on with the review:
The album IRM is more than capable of standing on it’s own merits and has no real need of such publicity stunts (OK? no need for trailer inserts etc. to scare readers). Maybe it would be more prudent to take a look at some of her other past work or to at least draw a worthwhile musical parallel. In 2006, Gainsbourg released her second album 5:55 to critical acclaim and commercial success, reaching the top spot on the French charts and achieving platinum status in the country. In the UK, the album was moderately successful, reaching #78 (The single Play The Songs That We Sing only made #129).
In 2007, Gainsbourg appeared as Claire in the Todd Haynes directed Bob Dylan biopic I’m Not There, also contributing a cover of the Dylan song “Just Like a Woman” to the film’s soundtrack.
IRM, is Gainsbourg’s third album and was produced by Beck whose fingerprints are easily deciphered on tracks throughout the album. I don’t rasie this as a criticism, as it has no doubt been a postive building block ingredient on IRM’s success as Dangermouse has been on Beck’s and many others.
Although much of the material was written by Beck, Gainsbourg does leave a more personal mark on the title track IRM, a song inspired by the her experiences with MRI scanners following a brain haemorrhage. She emulates the industrial sound of one on the track whilst pondering:
Take a picture, what’s inside?
Ghost image in my mind
Neural pattern like a spider
capillary to the centre
Beck also manages to contain his fascination with Gainsbourg’s father, Serge Gainsbourg. Well, almost. He manages some nice mimicry of Histoire de Melody Nelson on the seductive whispering of Le Chat du Café des Artists. I think he can be let off on that one, especially as it’s quoted as one of his favourite albums, a difficult temptation for any producer in the same circumstances.
Le Chat du Café des Artists
[audio:http://www.box.net/shared/static/l00sfrd0dr.mp3|titles=Le Chat du Café des Artists|artists=Charlotte Gainsbourg]
There are some fine pickings to be had on this album from lush pop melodies to some heavier less commercial offerings. If the music press could just see through all the bullshit that surrounds Gainsbourg, then they will find a solid album, worthy of further inspection.
[audio:http://www.box.net/shared/static/nvpjur19yf.mp3|titles=Trick Pony|artists=Charlotte Gainsbourg]
Amazon: Irm (Limited Edition)