[sic] Magazine

The Limiñanas – Shadow People

Which came first the movie or the score? Well, obviously the silent movie did, but – ignoring that – and in another case of life imitating art (or should that be art imitating life?) French duo The Limiñanas are back in the realm of psychedelic cinema with their tremendous fifth solo LP, Shadow People. Bookends to a wonderfully evocative narrative, long coastal drives and dusty desert showdowns are thus conjured by the album’s instrumental opener and closer, but it’s what’s in between them that’s really interesting.

First, it perhaps shouldn’t be so surprising that Lionel and Marie Limiñana’s fuzzy hooks are so popular within the insular walls of l’Hexagone as, despite everything, they still rely on the rich lyrical traditions of chanson … its practitioners old and new too. There’s consequently as much Serge Gainsbourg in Shadow People as there is Moe Tucker and, part of a hot-run of four tracks featuring various special guests, “Dimanche” sees modern chanson star Bertrand Belin pull off a hyper-cool account of Vicky and her alter ego Susie/Suze – all against a twinkling back-drop that borrows from no other than Ennio Morricone. Actress, model and – keeping the cinema fetish thing going – Roman Polanski’s wife Emmanuelle Seigner then gets in on the act on the very 60s title track, the exotica of its lounge-y Stereolab concessions latterly smudged out by bass reverb and wah indulgence.

Mixed-language vocals are nevertheless predominantly shared between drummer Marie and guitarist Lionel, his a sultry spoken-word, hers a heavily-accented and sexy coo. Further fleshing out the Perpignan duo’s vision nonetheless comes Anton Newcombe of The Brian Jonestown Massacre with whom the album was recorded and produced. He takes vocal on the totally great “Istanbul Is Sleepy”, its buzzed-out brilliance part strutting proto-punk and part vaguely Eastern organ groove. Peter Hook pops up again on “The Gift” just as he did on landmark last album Malamore too, his bass contribution just as New Ordery and wonderful as you could hope for.

Rounded out with spidery surf, chilled shuffles from the mind of Lou Reed, back masking, high-as-a-cloud lullabies and with less emphasis on Malamore’s acid-fried shred, Shadow People is psych-rock where the focus is on psych rather than rock. Naturally being French it chatters on about cigarettes on a number of occasions as well, music for late-night, back-street holes-in-the-wall; music that’ll therefore make your eyes sting and maybe cause permanent damage to your brain, but music that’s definitely worth the risk.

Best track: “Istanbul Is Sleepy”

~Shadow People is released January 19th 2018 via Because Music.~