Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Charlotte Gainsbourg IRM Review

The daughter of Serge Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin stares death right in the face and gets it right on her third album. On the title track to IRM – a reference to her 2007 cerebral hemorrhage – she asks, “Take a picture, what’s inside?” Apparently inside there was a desire to make a great record.

What do you do when you want to make a great record? You enlist creative mad scientist Beck to write, produce, and perform the bulk of the tracks, and you sing about death, fear, heaven, and hell. It works. IRM reeks of Beck (that’s a compliment), who duets with Gainsbourg on the knockout of a single “Heaven Can Wait.” His jagged rhythms and punk blues are all over IRM (see “Crooked Man” and “Trick Pony”), but it is Gainsbourg’s delicate and vulnerable vocals that allow him to seamlessly move from the rugged to the refined. “In the End” is a stunning track that belongs smack dab in the middle of an Elliot Smith record. There are weak moments – the lumbering “Vanities” leaves something to be desired – but they are ambitious and ultimately forgivable. When you’ve got gems like the lovely neo-folk “Me and Jane Doe,” sludging through a bit of filler is well worth it.

It’s hard to be grateful for someone suffering a near fatal brain hemorrhage, but when it inspires and leads to one of the most hauntingly listenable records of recent memory, it may just warrant a thank you.

Review by Charlie Duerr
IRM is out now, Amazon
Check out the video for "Heaven Can Wait"


Anonymous said...

i'm questioning getting the album because it's so hyped. but this review made it sound worth the hype, and i remember when beck used to be a good thing too.

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