Album Review: Musique de Film Imaginé by The Brian Jonestown Massacre
Great, Based on 4 Critics
AllMusic - 80 Based on rating 8/10
The Brian Jonestown Massacre always took a rather arty approach to their garage-spiked psychedelia, so it stands to reason that as the rock side of their personality begins to fade, the art side comes in to help fill out the spaces. That certainly seems to be the case with 2015's Musique de Film Imaginé, which practically abandons rock & roll altogether in favor of a suite of languid mood pieces inspired by Anton Newcombe's love of French film scores. While Newcombe has name-checked Jean-Luc Godard and François Truffaut as inspirations for this album, Musique de Film Imaginé sounds more like it would suit some Gallic thriller from the '60s about lovers caught up in a nefarious blackmail scheme, or maybe an early Jean Rollin picture about elegant vampires in the City of Lights.
Is 'concept album' still a derogatory term? I dunno, I’m pushing 30, what’s cool and what’s lame is beyond me. Do kids still say 'lame'? I dunno. Anyhow, if it is then my apologies to Anton Newcombe and whoever the hell else is currently in The Brian Jonestown Massacre, not only for always writing their name as 'Jonestwon', but because the idea behind Musique de Film Imaginé certainly makes it sound like a concept album.
Anton Newcombe takes us on a trip to the dark side of the French New Wave with this Musique de Film Imaginé. Signed as Brian Jonestown Massacre, but admittedly a creature of its leader only — working, as stated in the official press release, "on the band's behalf" — the album was conceived as an original soundtrack for a non-existent movie, inspired by the Parisian Rive Gauche film culture of the 50s and 60s. On this cinematic adventure, the Californian musician, now based in Berlin, where the album was recorded, is joined by two women who had previously crossed the Ocean in the opposite direction, both having moved from Europe to Los Angeles: goth-pop queen Stéphanie 'Soko" Sokolinski and Italian actress and singer, Asia Argento.
I was excited when I heard the premise of the new Brian Jonestown Massacre project, Musique de Film Imaginé. In February, Anton Newcombe announced it as “A soundtrack, my own creation, a tribute to great directors and filmmakers… The interesting thing about this project is that the film does not exist either… Now it’s your turn, you are the listener to imagine the film”. I was excited because I wanted to hear Newcombe create narrative and characters with sound.