Alpha Bravo Charlie
Like a double feature of completely different but complementary films, Die Moulinettes’ Alpha Bravo Charlie provides an amount of entertainment that disconcertingly adds up to more than its parts.
Think of this album in two halves: The first is a straight shot of Die Moulinettes, a Unified Europe sort of outfit, slipping between languages and musical modalities with the ease of a teenager with a Eurorail pass. Heavily influenced by the dreamy pop sound of Bachrach and Wilson, Die Moulinettes often make good use of a subtle melodic twist or blindingly catchy chorus hook, and when they can’t write their own, they pick some good ones — like Morricone’s “Deep Down,” straight off Italian spy flick Diabolique. “Like a Rubik’s Cube” has my world spinning around, as a soaring verse leads to a heavenly chorus and back, making me feel like my own airline commercial. Vocalist Claudia Kaiser has a great voice, like a purple velour coil spring.
After hearing Die Moulinette’s contributions, eight in all, we come to eight remixes of the tracks. Stereo Total’s deconstruction of “Strano Mondo di Danti Nomi” pits Kaiser’s alluring croon against a maneating bass line, buzzing doorbell, renegade echo pedal and scintillating Casio that leaves me floored every single time. The Maxwell Implosion’s “Alfio Brambilla” is dropped nude, in the middle of Carnaval, but gracefully manages to wiggle and carom off some leftfield samba beat. Erobique’s “Der Letzte Spieltag” starts with a slowly majestic awakening of horns and bells, but then segues into a lively chunk of sunny sidewalk bounce, before returning again to the original somber, serene melody.
With additional showings from the High Llamas, Valvola and Djmedjyou, this album is not your typical turn at Europop; instead, it’s a whirlwind tour through a mishmash of eras, the band’s heavily accented ’60s vibe carelessly necking with a chromed ’00s hologram. Very much worth tracking down.
S.H.A.D.O. Records: http://www.shadorecords.com