6 Oct 2014

Album Review: The Limiñanas "I’ve Got Trouble In Mind: 7”s and Rare Stuff 2009/2014"

Reviewed by Todd Leiter-Weintraub

Folks—meaning the public at-large, not you music fanatics who read this blog—just don’t seem to buy albums as much as they used to. The ability to download one song at a time has made the album darn near irrelevant to all but the hardest-core of music fans (this writer's opinion, not necessarily that of the editorial department).

The Limiñanas get that. And they also get that it could be a new golden age for the single, as it was back in the early 60s. So the French husband-and-wife duo of Lio and Marie Limiñana has released a sizeable chunk of 7" singles and one-offs in addition to proper albums. This package pulls all those singles together into a rock-solid collection of excellent tunes, each one of which can stand on its own.

Song after song, The Limiñanas offer up classic psychedelic pop, doused in reverb, with a few modern touches, like throbbing, driving rhythms and Farfisa/synth freakouts that may remind some folks of Stereolab.

While the duo knows melody and does it very well, they also love spoken, come-hither come-ons, from both Lio and Mari. It’s the sound of a somewhat less-lecherous Serge Gainsbourg: more sexy than sleazy; their advances framed with arrangements plucked from the classic Nuggets collections.

"Je m’en Vais" starts out with a hypnotic organ riff, which is joined by a toy piano (or is it a treated guitar?). The half-spoken, half-sung female vocals give Brigette Bardot a run for her money in the sex kitten department. "Cheri, cheri…" she coos.

You have my attention, my dear.

The title track surges ahead on a chugging rhythm, as little sliding, stabbing guitar riffs provide punctuation, and a classic B3 hums along in the background. The verses are sung in French, before the chorus answers in English: "I’ve got trouble in mind" over and over, like a mantra. The overall effect does what all good psychedelic music should do: sucks the listener in, puts them into a bit of a trance, and (in my case) puts a great big smile on their face.

It’s pretty difficult not to sing along. And, if the band ever comes through my town, and I find myself in the audience, you can be sure that I will be singing loud enough to annoy the people around me.

There are also a couple of excellent covers, including a sparse, fuzzy psych take on The Beach Boys’ "I Know There’s An Answer" and Phil Spector’s "Christmas."

"Liverpool" is the required foray into faux Indian ragas, complete with hand percussion and sitars. It is also, of course, the longest song on the album, and it could have been a momentum stopper. Thankfully, its relatively brief running time (by psych standards) of 5:08 and a skilled, evolving arrangement kept me in the moment and kept me rapt.

A lot of care has been taken to make this collection flow like a proper album and, for the most part, it does. It’s a really cool listen from a really cool band that knows what raw psychedelic music is all about, takes that knowledge, and puts their own twist on it.

Available on CD, and vinyl.

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