10 February 2018

The Limiñanas - Shadow People

The Limiñanas have a mission, to bring their own brand of French Pop, mixed with the union of Velvet Underground & The Jesus & Mary Chain, as well as a very large influence of Italian film scores.  The Limiñanas starts in 2009 and they are based in Cabestany, in the south of France. Shadow People is the follow up to the 2016 release, Malamore.  To be honest, until I was given the release on a recommendation, I'd not heard anything about The Limiñanas before.  But I'm always willing to give a band a chance, so what do they sound like?

01 – Ouverture

“Ouverture” starts Shadow People with a rugged, aggressive country/indie hybrid instrumental that bring to mind such bands as Alabama 3, Holy Fuck and Sons & Daughters.  The sound of the song is a singular entity, it's a furious number that sounds as if the devil himself is behind that band and screaming them onwards towards oblivion.  It’s a beautiful song, one which grabs your attention straight away and it sounds so beautiful, so my interest is already invested in this band.

02 - Le premier jour

“Le premier jour” translates to "The First Day" in French, it is another song that has a beautiful soul. It has a powerful sounding performance (even though the percussion is minimal in some ways), there is a slow build towards its eventual drifting crescendo, which is mixed with a beautiful vocal performance.  Can I understand the words? No, sadly I was never good at languages in school, even after trying with further education classes. But it doesn’t stop me from appreciating the joy of the song, it’s a real treat to listen to, even though it’s not something I would have usually gone for.

03 – Istanbul Is Sleepy

“Istanbul Is Sleepy” brings the energy back to Shadow People, with a drone-driven number that once again feels as if the fires of hell are at your heel.  Featuring Anton Newcombe (of the Brian Jones Town Massacre), this song is one of the standout tracks of Shadow People.  I love the sound that they have created here, a psychedelic, drone, indie, almost electronica piece that will sound at home in any situation (apart from possibly at a church ceremony).  Even then, I would still chance it as it’s a kick-ass song.

04 – Shadow People

The title people of Shadow People is a bit of a strange one if I’m honest, and I cannot put my figure on why.  It's certainly not the vocal performance of Emmanuelle Seigner, and the music sounds good.  But after the powerful “Istanbul Is Sleepy”, "Shadow People" comes across a little lethargic in comparison.  That said, it’s still better than the best percentage of chart music out there, with another slab of neo-country psychedelia.

05 – Dimanche

“Dimanche” is another collaboration track, this time featuring the talents of Bertrand Berlin, with this high energy piece that focuses on their French Pop & Italian soundtrack influences, with a haunting spoken word vocal performance. But they have also given it a retro feeling that is also modern at the same time.  Because of this cross-stitch effect, there is a hybrid nature to the song, but it’s doesn’t easily sit in any given category or style.  It’s a fascinating number, one that is worth further investigation.

06 – The Gift

Featuring the unmistakable bass sound of Peter Hook, “The Gift” is an Indie-boys wet dream as it invokes so many memories of Joy Division that it should come with a health warning.  It's not ashamed of its influences, it wears them on its sleeve for all to see.  However, the only criticism I have is that it’s far too short, but that does not stop it being another brilliant track.

07 – Motorizatti Marie

“Motorizatti Marie” is a beautiful track, with powerful drumming, heavy guitar strumming and wild-western feeling. It could have been extracted from one of the 1960’s Spaghetti Western movies, one that has been brought into the present and given a fresh production.  I hate to repeat myself, but the word driven comes to mind with "Motorizatti Marie.  It truly sounds as if the Morning Star himself is driving the band towards their final goal, where they're willing companions towards that final cliff edge.  It’s a good job that it sounds amazing as well, it’s definitely one of the best songs on Shadow People.

08 – Pink Flamingos

With it’s reversed guitar beginning, “Pink Flamingos” is a throwback to the hippy sound of the 1960’s, with that psychedelic feeling to the sound coming to the forefront.  I must admit, as nice as the music is sounding, I’m not engaging with “Pink Flamingos” as much as other songs on the album, but it is still a decent number.

09 – Trois Bancs

“Trois Bancs” brings the drone element back to Shadow People, with it’s massive sounding guitars, aggressive paced sounds and repetitive droning to the rhythm section that is supporting a gruff male vocal, that could easily have been added to an acoustic guitar.  I like this song, even though it actually goes on a beat or two too many for my own tastes, but that fact does not stop it being a good number.

10 – De la part des copains

Considering how fast paced some of these songs on Shadow People have been, it’s no surprise that “De la part des copains” ends the album on a slightly gentler note.  It has all the hallmarks of a great album ending, with a sense of a finale to the music.  You have the mournful tone that suggests a circus is about to leave town or the hero has finally beaten his foe, but ultimately succumbs to his injuries.  This instrumental ends the album in the right way, it leaves you wanting more and there isn't higher praise I can give this album.

Shadow People" is a very cool album, it's a stylistic record that sounds as if it's been taken from a time in the past and given a new coat of paint.  The various guest appearances don't overshadow The Limiñanas themselves, but it helps enhance the music, taking them to a higher level.  "Shadow People" will be an early entry to a lot of best of 2018 lists around the world, this is something I cannot disagree with as it sounds brilliant.  Viva la Shadow People!!!

8 out of ten – Oh, now you have my attention and maybe my time, money and heart.

Top track – Istanbul Is Sleepy

You can purchase Shadow People on Amazon here.

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