This second solo LP makes politics sound like the sexiest thing in the world.
Garry Mulholland 2012-07-18
Angry music generally sounds… well, angry. But perhaps that’s not the most useful way for protest to be expressed. Maybe it would be more welcoming and inspiring to a greater number of oppressed people if politicised anger sounded like beauty, sex and love. If you think this is an idea worth pursuing, then Lætitia Sadier is your best choice as leaderene.
It’s 22 years since Parisian Sadier formed Stereolab with her then-boyfriend and former McCarthy member Tim Gane. The ‘Lab came up with a precise, visionary idea: socialist song, performed in a style heavily informed by Françoise Hardy, Serge Gainsbourg, Neu!, classic bossa nova and The Velvet Underground. The results were presented like late-60s easy listening and library records, called things like The Groop Played “Space Age Bachelor Pad Music”. Within them, Sadier would purr elegant deconstructions of capitalist economic evils in a voice that sounded like snogging Audrey Hepburn while occupying The Sorbonne.
Sadier’s first solo album, The Trip, was released in 2010; and now comes this second album, which numbers Gane among its musicians. Silencio pulls off the baffling trick of sounding almost exactly like Stereolab while simultaneously making the entire aesthetic feel fresh and new all over again.
The tone is established by opening track The Rules of the Game, which uses Jean Renoir’s classic 1939 movie La Règle Du Jeu as a jumping off point for a discourse on how the decadence of the ruling classes creates the conditions for fascism. The sensual, summery, gently brassy gorgeousness of the music and the Gauloises cool of Sadier’s voice mean that, if you so choose, you can tune out of the lyrics and use it as the most sure-fire seduction soundtrack this side of Let’s Get It On.
And Sadier pulls this off 11 more times, crafting music that makes politics sound like the sexiest thing in the world. And no one has ever said that about Billy Bragg.