No rest for the wicked
- 13 Jan 2019 at 06:45
- WRITER: CHANUN POOMSAWAI
Charlotte Gainsbourg, Take 2 EP
Just when you thought shed put Rest to rest, the internationally renowned French chanteuse comes back strong with a five-track EP that brilliantly complements it
On 2017’s Rest, Charlotte Gainsbourg tackled grief and sadness head-on with help from DJ/producer SebastiAn, plus a colourful line-up of collaborators ranging from French author Michel Houellebecq and Paul McCartney to Daft Punk’s Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo and New Zealand indie experimentalist Connan Mockasin. It was an album equally rich in its sonic palette, emotions and melancholia — an enthralling combination that seems to be a running theme across her ever-growing discography.
Not quite ready to bring down the curtain on Rest just yet, Gainsbourg follows up with an accompanying five-track EP,
Take 2. Helmed once again by SebastiAn, the EP introduces itself with a brand-new track Such A Remarkable Day, a shimmering opener whose lyrics more or less run parallel to Lou Reed’s perennial 1972 classic Perfect Day. “Such a remarkable day/ All for me, thanks to you,” she croons before things turn slightly sinister. “There’s blood on your hands either way/ How can we ever pay your due?”
Arriving with a bit of a surprise is Bombs
Away, an unabashed disco affair coupled with what could possibly be her most vivid songwriting to date (“The Queen is marching back to Paris tonight… Another animal gets drowned in the Seine/ The city’s quiet and awaiting the Blitz/ A candle’s lit where old Victoria sits”). Meanwhile, Lost Leno
re is all bells and half-whispered French vocals, which should appeal to fans of the more classic Gainsbourg (the daughter, of course) for it’s got all the chamber pop elements that suit her exceptionally well.
The EP’s latter half contains two live versions, one being a cover of Kanye West’s
Runaway and the other a track from Rest called Deadly Valentine. On the former, she transforms the hip-hop anthem from
My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy into a dream-pop lullaby. Admittedly this is not the most groundbreaking cover we’ve heard, but hearing her singing “douche bags” and “assholes” in her French accent alone is worth it. Then, the closer
Deadly Valentine is where SebastiAn essentially comes out to play. His signature production here is unmistakable and it complements Gainsbourg’s breathlessly reciting what could easily be a Corpse Bride’s wedding vow.
Quotable lyrics:“Was it a cry or a sigh?/ A mental ill, could you say?/ Your broken bird cut the sky/ An extraordinary way/ Truth or dare, which is you?” ( Such A Remarkable Day)
Neon Indian / Heaven's Basement (Theme From 86'd)
Alan Palomo, better known as Neon Indian's frontman, hasn't released a new studio record since 2015's Vega Intl. Night School. But don't think for a second that the chillwave initiator has been slacking because he's been keeping himself pretty busy with other exciting side projects. Some of which include his contribution to Adult Swim's dream-pop compilation Luxe, the score for Pete Ohs' indie film Everything Beautiful Is Far Away as well as writing and directing his own short film 86'd ("a love letter to New York cinema" as he's put it). To complete the picture (literally), he's serving up an accompanying soundtrack titled Heaven's Basement, an 80s-inspired ditty brimming with fluorescent synths and some good old lo-fi lushness. "Life gave me hollow glamour/ There's no one to live it," he muses over the on-trend hypnagogic pop production. "Sleepwalk/ Déjà vu through the avenue/ Sleepwalk/ When the angels are calling you."
Bodyslam / 149.6
149.6 is the latest cut from Bodyslam's upcoming LP, the long-teasing seventh studio record Wi-cha Tua Bao. A follow-up to Sang Sawan and Kreung Kreung Klang Klang, the track alludes to the "just right" distance between the Earth and the Sun (149.6 million kilometres to be precise) in which life can begin and flourish. Here, the arena rockers apply the same notion to relationships and how sometimes a certain degree of distance is needed to keep them alive ("It's the furthest, but nearest distance… You're the reason I'm still breathing and learning to accept the truth").
Robbie Williams / I Just Want People To Like Me
British pop provocateur Robbie Williams returns with I Just Want People To Like Me, a new single of the third instalment of his ongoing compilation series Under The Radar. Set to a lurching rock production, Williams does what he does best: banging out self-referential lyrics like the rent is due ("I'm psychedelic, unstable/ They want a role model, but I just puked a rainbow"). Yeah, we get it Robster, everybody wants to be liked, although we feel boasting "I am in my private jet/ I am in a limousine/ I got my test back baby, and I'm super clean" might be going about it the wrong way.
The Shacks / Follow Me
A teaming of singer/bassist Shannon Wise and guitarist/producer Max Shrager, The Shacks have been exploring the fuzzy side of classic 60s and 70s rock since the release of their 2016's self-titled debut EP. Their latest full-length, Haze, offers exactly what it says on the package -- a whole lot of nostalgic haze funnelled through vintage soundscapes. Lead cut, Follow Me, starts out ominously with a barrage of kick drums and windswept synths. "I hear a sound/ Makes my head blur/ We're spinning fast/ But time's moving slow," Wise whispers, transforming the track into a low-key bop buoyed by subtle doo-wop undercurrents. And once she implores in the chorus "I hope you follow me", you just can't help but do so.
Ouzo Bazooka / Space Camel
Tel Aviv-based Ouzo Bazooka have just dropped their fourth LP, Transporter, and, if anybody's in the market for some legit middle eastern psych-rock, this is where it's all at. Take, for instance, the record's brilliantly titled Space Camel, which sees the four-piece meshing mesmerising basslines with trippy keyboards, resulting in a sonic sweet spot between The Black Keys, Khruangbin and Devendra Banhart. In a true psychedelic fashion, frontman Uri Brauner Kinrot sings about getting "high on solitude" and having "nowhere to settle your mind". Existential angst, here we come.