Perpignan two-piece, The Limiñanas can’t avoid the Gainsbourg comparisons (they’re pretty Gainsbourgy) but there’s much more to their surge than Serge. Such is their span of influences that on listening, here, to fourth album, Malamore the natural response is: ‘That’s pretty Limiñanasy’. And it is. And it’s no bad thing. Malamore is their first record since moving over from Chicago’s Trouble In Mind to sign with bigtime Parisian label, Because Music, and while retaining the bass-led drive and some of the garage moodiness of 2013’s excellent Costa Blanca, it has the feel of an LP that’s out to propel the psych-pop pair into public consciousness.
Opener, Athen I.A. is a lights-down stage-entrance riff of hooking intent. They’re on. And then 70 seconds later, they’re off. The number’s cut short, and fades into a confident silence. It’s a bit cocky, a black-jeans, black-glasses Gallic poseur; it promises more.
From here, polymath Lionel and drumming chanteuse Marie drive us cross-continental, dipping into decades, and picking up strays, while non-deviating rhythm gives a platform to fuzzy flourishes and sun-layered jangles.
The sparse El Beach builds to an Eastern-influenced and unsettling climax, countered then by the tempered Stonesy/Stoogey strut of Prisunic, both of which are veined with Lio’s spoken French vocals, characterful in their monotony.
A departure, then, from Michigan to Manchester and a departure in style, as belligerent bassist, Captain Hook plays Peter Pan, revisiting a northern Neverland and creating a nouvel ordre on Garden of Love. It’s a hazy gem with post-tablet tingles and JAMC echoes, Marie’s dreampop whispers floating over Hooky’s twangs.
On both Garden of Love and the standout title track we’re told ‘It’s Sunday morning’, and both are indicative of the wider appeal sought by this record. However, they’re certainly different Sunday mornings: Malamore is a kick into gear, a semi-stomper of snarl and sneer: ‘I’m Robert Mitcham/I’m Bob Duvall/Sit yourself down/And shut your mouth.’ It’s stoned, droned testosterone, and it’ll please.
Elsewhere, the soundtrack vibe of The Limiñanas’ earlier recordings is evident: El Sordo is a boots-on-dust, thumbs-in-belt-loops, cig-in-dry-lips stroll into a strange town, and Paradise Now Je t’aimes us, via melodica, sand dunes and salty air, into Connery’s soft-top for a cliffside cruise.
Sunday morning is tenuously allured to once more with the Velvets/Nico-tinged The Dead Are Walking, a lightly spooky song of zombie nonchalance: ‘The dead are walking, what a pity/I do the twist, I do the cha-cha’. Cramps + ketamine, with a smile.
The whistle-stop trip comes to an end with The Train Keeps A-Loopin’: immediate, Blaxploitative and brilliant, and as close to pounding as the record gets. It’s Pollock-splashed with the sort of indulgent little licks you’d expect John Squire to twiddle, on that album we’ll never see.
If you like all that, you’ll like this. Yes, they’re derivative, but the nods, winks and gut-punches don’t smack of copycatism, or even tribute really; rather they converge, compliment, and convey that Limañanasy sound that everyone might be talking about next week, should they struggle for a better adjective.
Malamore by The Limiñanas was released on 15th April on Because Music.