Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Ultra Orange & Emmanuelle - "Ultra Orange & Emmanulle" (LP Review)

While watching the excellent film "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly", a great song came on that both Danette and I immediately liked but were unfamiliar with. Watching the credits, we found that it was "Don't Kiss Me Goodbye", by Ultra Orange & Emmanuelle, which is basically a now permanent collaboration of the group Ultra Orange and actress Emmanuelle Seigner (who also starred in "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly"). A French actress singing pop music -- you're thinking Bridgette Bardot, Serge Gainsbourg, and "Bonnie and Clyde", right? Somewhat, but in this case you need to also think David Roback & Kendra Smith (i.e., "Opal") or David Roback & Hope Sandoval (i.e., "Mazzy Star").

"Don't Kiss Me Goodbye" was great in the context of the movie, and I made a point to buy the LP. Unfortunately, the LP is disappointing. DKMG is the best song on the LP, and on repeated listening it became apparent that why we like that song is because we're both fans of Mazzy Star. Take equal parts "Halah" and "Bells Ring" and you have a good idea of what DKMG sounds like: fuzzy dream pop with breathy, half-spoken female vocals. The LP cover art nicely captures the sound.

Some songs are ok, some are really bad, but most are just very derivative and simple. If the band down the street sounded like this, it would be ok, but the expectations are higher here. If you don't listen too closely, they sound better: perhaps the banal lyrics would sound better in French. The good songs are good enough to give some diversity to a playlist or mix cd, but as a collection of 11 songs this LP just doesn't hold together. Mostly it make me appreciate David Roback more. Emmanuelle sings better than Scarlett Johansson (e.g., her cover of "I Am the Cosmos") but she's clearly no Hope Sandoval.

Standout songs: "Sing Sing", "Don't Kiss Me Goodbye" (movie montage version), "Lines of My Hand"

Skip 'em songs: "Bunny", "Touch My Shadow", "Won't Lovers Revolt Now"

Final Score: 4/10. Mazzy Star keeps saying they'll release a fourth LP; in the meantime we have this...

Bonus Link: Bardot & Gainsbourg -- "Bonnie and Clyde"

No comments:

Post a Comment