Some records are just made for warm, summery evenings and homemade cocktails. So it is with Pearl and the Oysters‘ spacy third album.
The French-American duo of Juliette Davis and Joachim Pollack have released this a little too late, but not to worry, most of the world is on fire now anyway. This climate emergency is not one I raise unintentionally, as the album, with its references to retro sounds like the Beach Boys and Francoise Hardy, is a riposte to the sadness and anxiety many feel, and contains a poignant hope to return to something purer and more free.
With their analogue synthesizers, swathes of reverb and fondness for the sixties and seventies, it’s fair to say they share a lot of influences with Stereolab and Broadcast – indeed, Davis’ voice shares some of the jazzy sweetness of the much-missed Trish Keenan.
But on occasion, they come off as a little twee – their cover of Caetono Veloso’s tropicalia hit Baby being an offender, as well as Rocket Show, which apes part of the melody from Demis Roussos’ ghastly Forever and Ever, thus plunging the listener into the polyester suburban hell of Abigail’s Party.
Far better is the catchy Wizzo, an airier Air, which also flirts with sitar; the wistful Satellite, and Crocodile, a chamber pop gem with a little wah-wah guitar.
Not at all bad then, but you may feel like you’ve consumed too many of your friends’ “special brownies” and need a bit of a lie down afterwards.