Perfect Pop Records

Perfect Pop Records

POP61 – No Ripcord

Je Suis Animal
Self Taught Magic From A Book


Sadly, we’re not told what kind of animal they are, but the signifiers are all there for an educated guess. They’ve plighted their troth to a variety of none-more-indie labels worldwide, they’ve gone for a continental moniker that takes on a further level of ambiguity when written as a website address, they’re self-confessed Shop Assistants fans… clearly we’re looking at something more than a tad on the kittenish side, right?

That’s certainly an impression Oslo-based foursome Je Suis Animal are happy to foster on opener Secret Place, which manages to recall both Motorcycle Boy’s Big Rock Candy Mountain and the Would-Be’s’ I’m Hardly Ever Wrong, and Rousseau World proves to be winsome to the point of coquetry too. Still, if their only skill was playing the cute card, they’d be likable but limited, and, wisely, they’re all too aware of this, which leads them down the rollicking alt.beatpop path of Good To Me and encourages them to explore territory both glacial and spatial on Beginning Of Time.

Plus, they’ve got quite the line in unassuming cruelty. Vocalist Elin Grimstad can summon up a vicious disconnect in her performance that adds plenty to the suitably enigmatic The Mystery Of Marie Roget, and her pragmatic nonchalance works fantastically against the gasping-for-breath backing of Fortune Map, while there’s a real insistence to the resentment at the heart of Across The Line and a mild horror woven intricately through Indoors Of Outdoors. It gets better than that, too; Indifferent Boy is a terrific slice of Left Banke-esque sophisto-pop whose guitars get wrenched into all sorts of chicanery, and the staggering It’s Love is an exercise in cognitive dissonance par excellence, with its more romantic sections trapped under visceral discord and its more violent tendencies being sugared with coy twinkliness.

In fact, you’d be hard pressed to say that they put a paw wrong anywhere in the course of this remarkable first offering. Turns out that, at best, they’re actually a snappy crossbreed of Lush and Stereolab, and that’s a wondrously wild proposition by any reckoning.

3 December, 2008 – 11:16 — Iain Moffat

Perfect Pop Records, Postboks 783 Sentrum, 0106 Oslo •