Combining previously unreleased material with live recordings, Stage Whisper offers glimpses of Charlotte Gainsbourg as both sultry pop chanteuse and rough-edged electronica diva. On the studio tracks here, she again proves her skill at blurring boundaries between the sinister and the erotic while retaining her elusive cool. The harsh, synthesizer-drenched slink of the Beck-produced “Terrible Angels” and “Paradisco” is matched with the wistful acoustic folk sounds of “Memoir” (featuring The Villagers’ Conor O’Brien) and “Anna.” In “White Telephone” and “All the Rain,” Gainsbourg radiates melancholy and desire in equal measure against moody, insinuating backdrops. The album’s live cuts are more than restatements of her familiar tunes; songs like “Set Yourself on Fire,” “IRM,” and “Trick Pony” gain a grit and ferocity only hinted at in their studio versions. Her dreamy rendition of Dylan’s “Just Like a Woman” proves a weirdly effective lead-in to the throbbing obsession of “The Operation.” Taken together, these tracks create a seductively compelling portrait of this fascinating artist.
All the Rain
Got to Let Go (feat. Charlie Fink of Noah & the Whale)