Gigi – Maintenant

I could go on and on, but I’d just say that if you like classic pop, get this.

 

 

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Okay, now normally I really don’t dig 60’s revivalist records, especially when they try to re-create the early 60s pop / Phil Spector wall of sound thing. But this is something really different, incorporating elements of show tunes and lounge and cabaret, and it seems to have about 500 guest artists contributing, including Mirah, Owen Pallet and Zac Pennington most of whom come up trumps. In addition it seems that the LP has been put together over three years, which bodes well, no cheap-fix knock off here.

Over the past 2 weeks I’ve become steadily more intrigued as to why such a good LP could be made using such re-hashed ideas and styles. Apparently the recording came about because one of Gigi, a producer named Colin Stewart, bought two plate reverbs for his studio and quite naturally wanted to use them. From such simple ideas is great music made. A few sessions in 2005 led to the recording of this extraordinary album, which eventually took over 3 years to complete.

Now all of this would have been academic if the songs weren’t bloody great. And let me tell you, whilst all of the songs are bloody great, some of the songs are stratospherically great. Yes there are moments especially the opening bars of No, My Heart Will Go On when you think it’s all a pastiche, but stick with it, as even the most unpromising moment blossoms out into something special.  Musical highlights are The Hundredth Time, with its incredibly rich vocal parts (verging on a classic ‘Spiritual’ delivery) and seductive melody line, and One Woman Show, which has the most beautiful piano coda setting up a fragile vocal run from Joey Cook which has a feel of the Velvet Underground’s I’m Sticking With You to it. And, most importantly, they are songs with meaning and content, not pastiches.

The performances are fabulous too, Owen Pallet’s melancholy run through on teen weepy I’ll Quit is nigh on perfect. In a similar vein is Zac Pennington’s Dreams of Romance which combines a mournfully quiet brass part (sounding suspiciously – or reverentially, take your pick - like the melody line to It’s Not Unusual) with a trembling vocal that screams teenage rejection. It’s mental. Rose Melberg’s Alone At The Pier is a brilliant short statement of intent. Melberg’s understated delivery - while she puts her ex down - combines brilliantly with the lush orchestration.

I could go on and on, but I’d just say that if you like classic pop, get this.