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Music reviews - 09.20.06 

This week: New discs by Charlotte Gainsbourg and The Polyphonic Spree

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Charlotte Gainsbourg
  • Charlotte Gainsbourg

Charlotte Gainsbourg

While the pairing of this superstar actress with the adventurous electronic duo Air is bound to send novelty seekers into self-lubricating throes of anticipation, the presence of famed Radiohead producer Nigel Godrich and Pulp frontman Jarvis Cocker’s lyrics could inspire at least a moistening twinge of curiosity in discriminating listeners too. Gainsbourg routinely proves her dedication to the craft of acting, so it seems unfair to automatically doubt her singing, most notoriously demonstrated at age 12 when she and her father, legendary lech Serge Gainsbourg, dueted on the shocking “Lemon Incest.” But, because Air’s sumptuous atmospheres get pushed back to a frosty distance, 5:55 comes off like a screen test, with Gainsbourg’s whispery evocations of vaguely grim emotions way too far up-front. Then again, it does make a perfect soundtrack for seducing equally frosty and slightly pretentious 20something girls. Just don’t act surprised when you feel empty in the morning. For bona-fide companionship, however, you might wanna hold out for Air’s next album --- and Gainsbourg’s next film.

--- Saby Reyes-Kulkarni


The Polyphonic Spree
  • The Polyphonic Spree

The Polyphonic Spree

While the Spree’s cult following waits for the band’s new album to drop in 2007, here’s this five-song EP to hold them over. Too bad it only includes two new tracks; the other three tunes (“Love My Way,” “Sonic Bloom,” and “Lithium”) are covers. Covering the Psychedelic Furs and Tripping Daisy seems to be right up the Spree’s alley, but Nirvana is quite a curveball. And yet it works oh so well, with the Spree turning the song into an almost cheerful ditty, complete with a light, airy piano line and a full-on string section. The chorus becomes more of a sing-along than an angry exclamation, and you can almost hear them smiling on the track.

Of the two new tracks, “Mental Cabaret” is a breezy, danceable, three-minute, piano-driven number and “I’m Calling” is a bit slower, but still melodic and pretty, with a nice horn accompaniment.

With an EP like this, one can only hope that the full-length disc will really be worth the Wait.

--- Todd Rezsnyak



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