French band The Limiñanas seem to get better with each album, even though, as with this, it’s a re-issue of old singles that weren’t meant to be a collection in the first place.
This latest outing is rooted in cool French sixties pop, with some Ennio Morricone thrown in for good measure, and some solid psychedelic stoner grooves. At heart it’s lightweight pop and the sound varies but little, but their French insouciance — they probably have a word for it — means you get the feeling they’d just shrug and wave a Gauloises if you pointed it out. It’s got charm and flows along nicely.
Despite the Frenchness they love their English music. The Mirror kicks it all off, with an Englishman (Kirk Lake) telling the story of a mirror factory, loosely based in truth, in as much as the factory does exist but much else seems to be made up (according to the factory website).
The English influence continues with Two Sisters, a Kinks cover, about a swinging sister and her housewife sibling, the characters based on Ray and Dave Davies, apparently.
Maria’s Theme goes from the swinging West End to the Wild West, plucked guitar, Morricone-style bells, whistling and some almost-mariachi trumpet.
So far so poptastic; a cover of La Cavalerie from French singer Julien Clerc follows, very sixties and sung in French, and then comes Russian Roulette, a song originally by Lords Of The New Church, a punk “supergroup” from the 80s; Rat Scabies drummed and Brian James guitared. This track is good because it lays down a metronomic bass line and sticks to it, as does the next, The Inventor, which might be an original, and The Train Creep A-Loopin.
These three pop/stoner tunes precede a return to the sixties, Nuit Fantôme, which has jangly guitar and spoken French and is rather good, as is — and they seem to wheel it out on every album — The Gift, with Hooky on bass and vocals not dissimilar to Gillian Gilbert. A New Order song, really. The first time we heard the song it was by far the best on the album, now it’s not, which is how far they’ve improved.
We’re nearly 500 words but only 10 songs in; just to say that other covers include Angels And Devils from Echo and the Bunnymen (B side to Seven Seas), and closer Silent Night (bearable, just). On the way there, The Curse of Santa Claus is not bad and Wunderbar the catchiest tune ever whose sole lyric is Wunderbar.
We also discovered they’re disciples of a 60s genre called “yé-yé”, a French style derived from the English “yeah! yeah!”; Serge Gainsbourg and Françoise Hardy were examples of the time.
Basically: music that sounds like it’s from the 60s served up with French cool and some solid grooves.
Support your local record shop! If you’ve not got one, support us (an independent newspaper) and buy this from here: