Charlotte Gainsbourg - IRM
Fresh from winning the Best Actress award at Cannes Charlotte Gainsbourg returns with her first studio album since 2006, a release for which she’s unlikely to win any awards. IRM, French for MRI, is also her first album since treatment in 2007 for a cerebral haemorrhage and this time she’s brought along Beck as her collaborateur. Throughout the album Charlotte, the daughter of Jane Birkin and Serge Gainsbourg, appears condemned to repeat musical history and it’s never good to be faced with the grim reality that what you are doing has not only been done better but done better by your parents. The album is littered with classic pop culture references, ‘IRM’ namechecks ‘Glass Onion’, ‘Dandelion’ follows in the tyre tracks of Marc Bolan and, surprisingly, ‘Me & Jane Doe’ resembles nothing so much as an ethereal rehash of The Primitives’ ‘Crash’. There are, however, moments of magic, such as the lush, sweeping strings of potential Bond theme ‘Le Chat Du Cafe Des Artistes’ and the delicious ‘Time of The Assassins’ which could be a long lost Marianne Faithful/Keith Richards recording. Here and there, most notably on ‘Trick Pony’, Beck drops in his trademark dirty, thick bass sounds but, in reality, he’s barely stepping out of autopilot mode and even recent single ‘Heaven Can Wait’, in which he duets with Charlotte, is little more than a one dimensional glam stomp along. It’s not bad, it just lacks a spark or originality and, with acting awards in the bag, maybe it isn’t a good time to give up the day job.