Friday, November 12, 2010

The Limiñanas - 'The Limiñanas'

I hate calling records “cinematic.” What the heck does that even mean? But the new self-titled record from the probably twee, definitely French act the Limiñanas definitely has a cinematic quality to it. Split between spoken word excerpts and songs, it feels like a soundtrack to a movie that doesn’t exist. Tracks open with flourishes of drum loops and organ. This should be a cool film with espionage and beautiful people dressed in suits saying stuff like "Quelle honte" and "Dieu est mort" in between cigarette drags.

Musically, the record falls in line with the refined tastes of Belle & Sebastian and Elk City, by which I mean there are a lot of retro leanings. This is baroque pop, leaning towards the pop classicism of Burt Bacharach and early Nick Drake. The guitars shimmer, the drums play tastefully, and there’s plenty of extra instrumentation hiding underneath, like tambourine, melodica and sitar.

Now here’s where the ig’nant ’Merican in me rears its fat face. See, I speak the universal language of melodies. Mais je ne parle pas français (But I don’t speak French. Although I do know how to use Babel Fish). The spoken word sections are interesting at first, but after a while, they get old. I’m sorry, I don’t understand what’s going on, please play a song. I know that’s my shortcoming, but dangit, I gotta be honest. That said, a decent amount of the lyrics are in French, like on “Tears.” And even when the songs are in French, the choruses are at least easy to decipher (“Je Suis Une Go-Go Girl” is just the title repeated).

All the same, The Limiñanas is a nifty little number, an infectious French foray from Trouble in Mind. Plenty of these tracks would sit well in a film. Someone should play closing track “Got Nothin’ to Say” over a credits sequence or something.

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