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Charlotte Gainsbourg - Irm

2010-02-12 12:02

Fans of her model-mom, Jane Birkin's breathy Lolita tones are going to be turned on by the sensual chamber pop come-ons of "In the End", "Voyage" and "La Collectioneuse". But it's when producer and composer Beck looks beyond soft porn string cinema or retro boudoir chanson clichés that he seduces the 38-year old actress into more dangerous French-kissed liaisons.

"Irm" pulses to a Motorik cocktail of shagged out electro-clash that's reminiscent of some of the more shamanistic experiments of Bjork or Yoko Ono. "Le Chat Du Café Des Artistes" is a murky noir-pop daydream that re-imagines one of infamous dad Serge's many muses fronting a chamber music ensemble led by Michel Legrand covering Gary Numan's "Down in the Park".

While his own polymorphous pop de-and-reconstruction remains the blueprint, as a producer Beck's got his iPod jammed on speed-dial. Their duet "Heaven Can Wait" gives Lee Hazelwood and Nancy Sinatra's call-and-response chemistry an alt. rock makeover. Acoustic pop breeze "Me and Jane Doe" and nu-folk implosion "Vanities" map the missing links between Francois Hardy and Marianne Faithfull.

Picks of the pop art pack? Well, the fiercely sexy "Trick Pony" is an unabashedly erotic pole dance conflation of Goldfrapp's Black Cherry and The Rolling Stones' Emotional Rescue. And in the hypnotic electro-clash heartbeat of "Greenwich Meantime" Charlotte’s got a 21st century cyber-disco anthem that Madonna, Kylie or Lady Gaga would simply die for.

A meta-textual medium is one thing, but what about the message of Irm*? Well, if abstract musings on existence, death, spirituality and the afterlife sound like frequencies you get off on, then navigating Charlotte's lyrical web will be seriously seductive.

*The album's title is a play on the acronym for Magnetic Resonance Imaging, the medical procedure Charlotte was subjected to after a serious head injury she sustained in a water skiing accident a few years back.

Award-winning actress and occasional chanteuse hires postmodern pop genius Beck to soundtrack this experimental electro-pop soufflé that's garnished with a cockatil of existential claustrophobia and romantic ennui you only find in French art house films.


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