Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Gigi - Maintenant

If God Help The Girl had sounded half as good as Maintenant, Stuart Murdoch would have been in the New Year’s Honours List; if Phil Spector had made a record this strong in the past 10 years, the jurors at his trial may have been more lenient; and if Stephin Merritt still wrote songs of this quality he’d have to reconvene The 6ths for Wasps' Nests Part 2.

Gigi – the combination of Canadian songwriter Nick Krgovich and producer Colin Stewart with guest vocalists – took three years to make Maintenant; on the basis of the string-swept settings, rain-soaked heartache and Brill Building melodrama, those three years could easily have been 1962-65.

For all the obvious comparisons – Spector/Barry/Greenwich, and Bacharach and David in particular – there’s a warmth to this record and a range of less obvious influences – Serge Gainsbourg's breathy noir and The Zombies' baroque pop, for example – that ensures Maintenant sidesteps pastiche to stake a claim for its own star on Sunset Boulevard.

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