Charlotte Gainsbourg : Stage Whisper
At age 15 Charlotte Gainsbourg was the unwitting subject of controversy when she song with her notorious father Serge on the typically scandalous Gainsbourg production Lemon Incest. 25 years later, and Charlotte Gainsbourg has largely eschewed her father’s fascination for scandal, carving out a cinematic and musical career of considerable quality.
While it’s relatively rare for Australian, English and American actors and actresses to cross over successfully into music, and vice versa, the French seem to do it without taking breath. Stage Whisper confirms that Charlotte Gainsbourg is no lesser a quality musician than a compelling actress.
Gainsbourg’s musical style imbues dance-floor pop with a slick Parisian sensibility (witness the down and dirty electronic pop of Terrible Angels), her lilting vocals in All The Rain as arresting as her recent performance Melancholia was deeply confronting. White Telephone is noir in its most stylish form, Anna a journey into more linear romantic territory and Got To Let Go the proverbial cuddle by the warm fire. If Out of Touch lacks the bite of the preceding tracks, Memoir rights the ship with its arm-grasping narrative.
The album comes with a selection of live tracks taken from Gainsbourg’s shows in July 2010. The atmosphere is excited (wolf whistles abound), the music tight, yet Gainsbourg’s vocals lack the depth of her recorded output. It’s a timely reminder that sometimes you have to either be there to appreciate a performer’s natural charisma and talent, or that some music is best heard in studio form only.
BY PATRICK EMERY
Best Track: All The Rain
If You Like These, You'll Like This: GOLDFRAPP, JANE BIRKIN
In A Word: Elegant