L’ÉPÉE – ” The Last Picture Show “

Posted: July 17, 2020 in ALBUMS, MUSIC
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Seigner may not see herself as a femme fatale, but Diabolique, the debut album by new collaborative band, l’Épée (the Sword), certainly does. A heady combination of 60s psych, yé-yé, lounge and drone rock, over which she purrs lyrics such as “I’m the Queen of Furs/The Earthquake Lady”, it’s as seductive as Serge Gainsbourg and as druggily alluring as the Velvet Underground. It also comes with the obsessive eye for detail you would expect from her collaborators on the project. L’Épée is a four-piece band comprised of Emmanuelle Seigner (Ultra Orange & Emmanuelle), Anton Newcombe (The Brian Jonestown Massacre) and Lionel + Marie Limiñana (The Limiñanas).

The collaboration came about last year, when husband and wife duo The Limiñanas recorded an album (‘Shadow People’) with Anton Newcombe. A track featured French musician, actress, model and muse Emmanuelle Seigner on guest vocals. When she came into the studio to record the group dynamic clicked and a natural collaboration ensued. Inspired by melancholic movie scores and the mythology of Rock’n’Roll music, from Lou Reed to the Rolling Stones, ‘Diabolique‘ is infused with light, shadows and layers of psychedelic fuzzy guitars.

The title is a nod to Mario Bava’s 1968 cult movie classic Danger: Diabolik, while the lyrics – mostly by Lionel Limiñana – were written as musical short stories in the spirit of Italian film director Dino Risi.  “I come from a theatre background, but I grew up loving Lou Reed, the Stooges and the Rolling Stones,” she says. “I always wanted to be in a band like this, but I started modelling at 14 and my life took a different path.” Throughout her film career, Seigner has released commercially successful pop albums – with French outfit Ultra Orange in 2007 and her own solo records (Dingue in 2010 and Distant Lover in 2014). But it was only in 2016, when she heard the Limiñanas’ track Down Underground while watching an episode of Gossip Girl with her daughter Morgane, that she realised her musical ambitions might still be fulfilled. She got on a plane to meet Limiñana and his wife, Marie, who plays drums, at their studio in Cabestany in the south of France. They recorded a song for the band’s album Shadow People, with Newcombe producing. “The result was so good that he suggested we should all form a band together.” It was recorded between Lionel and Marie’s home place Cabestany (FR) and Anton’s Cobra Studio in Berlin. The collective have named themselves L’Épée, meaning “the sword” in English, after it came to Anton in a dream.  Newcombe provides the rock’n’roll credentials. As the Brian Jonestown Massacre’s charismatic leader during the 90s, he operated as, effectively, a one-man Rolling Stones. His status as rock’s most mercurial madman was captured in Ondi Timoner’s classic 2004 rockumentary, Dig!.

Emanuelle Seigner wife of Roman Polanski  new project in L’ Épée [The Sword]. Aside from being an actress and a model she had long been into the music game having released two solo albums herself and a collaboration with Ultra Orange. On this project, she teams up with Anton Newcombe, Lionel Limiñana, and Marie Limiñana, the latter of Les Bellas and Les Limiñanas. The record is a throwback to late 60s and early 70’s psychedelic rock with touches of dream pop and shoegaze. Drenched in feedback and reverb, the album is a wonder of neo-psychedelia and Seigner’s vocal delivery is a nod to chanson and yé-yé. From opener “Une Lune Étrange” to “Last Picture Show”, the album goes from psychedelia to shoegaze to gothic rock to dream pop only to end with a garage rock stomper.

I was aware of Emanuelle Seigner ever since Roman Polanski’s 1999 film The Ninth Gate and have loved her as well in The Diving Bell and The Butterfly, Frantic, Bitter Moon and 2013’s Venus in Fur. I had no idea she was such a great singer, and on Diabolique she proves in it spades in what is hands down one of the most impressive psychedelic rock albums of 2019.

L’Épée – “Dreams” first EP available on May the 17th L’Épée, the band are Emmanuelle Seigner (Ultra Orange & Emmanuelle), Anton Newcombe (The Brian Jonestown Massacre) & Lionel & Marie Liminana (The Liminanas)

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