- 10 Mar 20
Dublin supergroup get experimental on long-awaited debut.
While not quite a concept album in the traditional sense, Autre Monde’s full-length debut, The Imaginary Museum, is centred around one guiding principle – imagining themselves as a leading ‘60s band who’ve been transported to the ‘80s, with all its glitz, glamour, synths and excess.
True to form, there’s a touch of wit and cynicism at the heart of Paddy Hanna and co’s approach. The project is titled after Fredric Jameson’s iconic Postmodernism text, in which he notes that “all that is left is to imitate dead styles”. However, while embracing the pounding confidence of ‘80s pop-rock, and paying homage to the likes of Roxy Music, Peter Gabriel and Starship in its cheesier moments, The Imaginary Museum is more than just a posturing musical period piece.
There is no denying the influence of their producer, Girl Band’s Daniel Fox – whose dark, innovative vision brilliantly elevates Autre Monde’s ambitious experimental art-pop. Like Paddy Hanna’s solo work, behind the carefree romance of The Imaginary Museum lies a more twisted tale – one of the album’s highlights, ‘Brain Upon Your Pillow’, is a menacing exploration of sleep deprivation-induced paranoia, with an eerie, two-and-a-half-minute-long ambient outro.
But even when defiantly pushing at the boundaries of genres, themes and theories, Autre Monde’s debut is a surprisingly accessible outing – evidenced by the appearance of another standout, ‘Fever In May’, in an Audi ad. Across a tidy nine tracks, the SXSW-bound band have crafted a deeply layered project that surprises as much as it delights. A highly compelling debut.
- out now