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Charlotte Gainsbourg – Stage Whisper (Review)

Charlotte Gainsbourg, Stage Whisper

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 4 out of 5

CHARLOTTE Gainsbourg delivers a new album of material derived largely from her IRM sessions with Beck.

A 2CD collection, the first is comprised of new and unreleased material that originated from the IRM sessions, while the second is comprised of live tracks. The first CD is arguably the best bet as it’s always great to hear something new from Gainsbourg, and particularly material that displays a strong Beck influence.

Hence, a track like All The Rain combines a tremendously atmospheric back-beat with some dreamy lyrics about the rain, delivered as only Charlotte knows how. It’s an easy pick for an obvious highlight.

Earlier, Terrible Angels opens proceedings with an effort that smacks of the influence of Beck… featuring slick beats, a scuzzy synth and a blissfully dreamy vocal that give off a supremely satisfying electro pop vibe. It’s cool, hip and genuinely lively and a terrific starting point.

White Telephone, in contrast, slows the tempo and re-imagines Gainsbourg as a French ballad singer complete with ‘70s influences. It’s a beguiling offering and shows that Gainsbourg is equally adept at delivering a telling moment on her own.

Charlie Fink of Noah & The Whale crops up to duet on another of the album’s highlights, Got To Let Go, an oddly endearing, if strangely melancholy affair that has woozy synths, digital chimes and restrained beats to augment it.

Fink, meanwhile, has a Leonard Cohen-like presence about his gruff vocals, meaning that this could work just as well on a Noah & The Whale LP as it does here. It’s a clever combination of both artists’ styles and the chorus is a humdinger.

Memoir, meanwhile, is more stripped back and chicly sexy… acoustic guitars and bass accompanying a sweet vocal that’s as dusky as it is distinctly French sounding. There’s an air of danger about it, too, as Charlotte sings of giving herself to strangers.

The live album is good on its own for re-appreciating the songs of IRM but the main reason for purchasing Stage Whisper is this first CD… and it’s one worth shouting about.

Download picks: Terrible Angels, All The Rain, White Telephone, Got To Let Go, Memoir

Track listing:
CD1

  1. Terrible Angels
  2. Paradisco
  3. All The Rain
  4. White Telephone
  5. Got To Let Go
  6. Anna
  7. Out of Touch
  8. Memoir

CD2

  1. IRM
  2. Set Yourself on Fire
  3. Jamais
  4. Heaven Can Wait
  5. In The End
  6. AF607105
  7. Just Like A Woman
  8. The Operation
  9. The Songs That We Sing
  10. Voyage
  11. Trick Pony