Perfect Pop Records

Perfect Pop Records

POP61 – Subba Cultcha

Je Suis Animal
‘Self Taught Magic From a Book’
Angular Recordings

Norway’s latest export, and not a Mattel reference in sight…

Je Suis Animal are a carnival in your ears, spinning yarns of pure 1960s pop mixed with the ‘sensibilities’ (if you can refer to them as such) of the new millennium. Opener ‘Secret Place’ is Asobi Seksu in Lou Reed’s clothing, all alt. pop hooks and second hand guitar parts. ‘The Mystery of Marie Roget’ takes off where ‘Secret Place’ began; immersing the listener in synthed up Nico fantasies – imagine Stereolab if they realised the brutal vitality of guitars in indie pop, only with the sublime vocals of Amelia Fletcher. Swoon.

Yet it’s all too easy to get caught up in these illusions of the past. Je Suis Animal are not a retroactive pop group, they are the sound of now. Switching from the sounds of the (Velvet) Underground to sound of Olympia, WA circa ’94 (‘Good to Me’). Yet the (limited) cut and paste culture on ‘Self Taught Magic…’ is not akin to the work of Justine Frischman – Je Suis Animal manage to take what is not theirs and deliver it in such a way that you could be forgiven for believing it to be so. ‘It’s Love’ is the sound of Heavenly colliding with a slightly subdued Sleater-Kinney, melody versus (petty) fury; this record rocks (especially the tuneless recorder solo around 1.30).

 ‘Self Taught Magic…’ is a record that rustles through the annals of alternative culture and manages to escape the jaded revivalism the likes of Primal Scream hold so dear. The record is by no means perfect, and even if it was it wouldn’t improve it any – y’see perfection, or at least the predominant definition, would imply that something is without faults or flaws. And, the thing is that it’s the gaps, cracks and outmoded production techniques that push the buttons here. The cavernous sound, the treble, the alt pop/rock heroin(e).

Je Suis Animal aren’t going to top the charts but they will definitely make things seem a little less…hopeless.

By: Will Metcalfe

Perfect Pop Records, Postboks 783 Sentrum, 0106 Oslo •