Charlotte Gainsbourg - Live at Sunset Sound EP - Singles - Reviews - Soundblab

Charlotte Gainsbourg - Live at Sunset Sound EP

by Rich Morris Rating:7 Release Date:2010-06-15

As a live document, Live at Sunset Sound, which has been released as a digital download, possibly won't tell you much about Charlotte Gainsbourg that you won't have gleaned from her studio albums. Though recorded live, the songs on this EP, all taken from this year's superb IRM album, are almost as polished and poised as they are in their original forms. However, seeing as Gainsbourg is an artist who exudes a very old-school class, one doesn't sense an opportunity has been lost here. I mean, it's difficult to imagine Gainsbourg stage diving or clambering up a stack of amps isn't it? That said, as an appetite-whetter for her forthcoming UK live appearances (she will play Shepherds Bush Empire on June 22 and Latitude on July 18) Live at Sunset Sound does its job nicely thanks to an audible intimacy on songs such as opening track 'Time of the Assassins' and 'Heaven Can Wait', both of which lyrically deal with the cerebral haemorrhage and are expertly realised here.

The inclusion of 'Greenwich Mean Time' is a little baffling, since it was clearly the most throw-away, under-thought song on IRM. It benefits here from a slightly rough live treatment, although nothing can stop it sounding like an inessential ditty. Gainsbourg has far more accomplished songs from both IRM and 2006's 5:55 which she could have deployed for this EP. Thankfully, the closing two songs on Live at Sunset Sound are miles better. 'Voyage' is a fantastically quirky, sexy tribal stomp suffused with an ominous air. 'In the End', meanwhile, concludes matters on a cryptic, unresolved note. In all, Live at Sunset Sound is a far from essential purchase, even if you loved IRM. But if you are going to see this consistently interesting performer live this summer, you'll probably get a lot out of this sophisticated little live set.

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