The Limiñanas

Costa Blanca

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The Liminañas' third album, 2013's Costa Blanca, finds the French duo making some subtle renovations to their sound, bringing in some new elements that help to expand the tightly focused sound of their previous work. While the main thrust is still a lively brand of French pop meets Velvet Underground garage rock, they add more acoustic guitars, stretch out the songs' running times, and generally retreat from short, punchy songs in the direction of songs that take their time to unwind and have more diffuse charms. Whereas most of the duo's older work sounded lifted from a compilation of forward-thinking Continental Nuggets, this time out there are tracks, like the instrumentals "Alicante" and "Rosas," that have a definite deep-cut soundtrack feel that's new and quite interesting. Other tracks explore some new moods, too; the slowly chugging "Votre Coté Yéyé M'Emmerde" has a lot of sinister menace, "La Mélancolie" has a lovely downcast strut that seems perfect for listening to while walking through late-night rain, and "Cold Was the Ground" reaches a level of slow despair they hadn't delved into before. Not all has changed in the Liminañas camp, though. Once again, drummer Marie and bassist/organist Lionel bring in a slew of vocalists (including longtime collaborator MU) to help out, each of them adding a different feel to their songs but sounding great all the same. A few songs stick to the established formula that worked so well in the past, too, like the stomping "My Black Sabbath" and the rambling psychedelic rocker "Liverpool" that ends the record on a high note. Mostly though, the album is a successful blending of the past and present, with every new idea working out just right, with the end result being an album that capitalizes on the Liminañas' many established strengths and sends them shooting off in new directions that prove just as satisfying.

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