Gigi

Maintenant

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AllMusic Review by

Gigi: it's the kind of name (like Dusty or Petula) that brings to mind pop singers of yore. And this is exactly what Gigi are going for on Maintenant: indie pop that (similar to groups like the School, the Carrots, and Saturday Looks Good to Me) harkens back to the heyday of the Brill Building sound. Gigi is essentially a concept band that grew out of a collaboration between producer/engineer Colin Stewart (who, prior to this, had worked with Black Mountain and Destroyer) and Nick Krgovich (P:ano, No Kids). The duo recruited well over a dozen of their friends (among them Rose Melberg, Mirah, and Karl Blau) and set up a series of old-school live-off-the-floor recording sessions. The resulting album succeeds in every way a project like this should: that is, it manages to fulfill a fantasy (i.e. one in which Rose Melberg is transported back to the early '60s, where she is the lead singer in a stellar girl group) without sounding hokey or gimmicky. Maintenant is, more than anything, a showcase for Krgovich's irrepressible eclecticism and his penchant for touches of camp. This sensibility feels right at home on Maintenant -- after all, if there was ever a time to get campy, it's on an album that takes its cue from the golden age of beehive hairdos and beach party movies. Krgovich and Stewart pull out all the stops, kitsch-wise, and it's a joy to hear them let loose. (Choice moments include the clippity-clop drumming and goofy bass vocals on "Some Second Best;" Rose Melberg's Bakelite-smooth vocals on "Alone on the Pier," and the rain-slicked Henry Mancini-style string section on "The Marquee.") This playfulness bumps up against the album's sentimental side beautifully, especially on "The Marquee," where the song's cutesy lyrics ("Under a blue and white beach umbrella/ Sittin' pretty, waitin' on a fella") are matched wonderfully by Katie Eastham's smoky-sweet vocals. Maintenant is, in other words, just a big old treat for fans of sweet-as-pie indie pop, not to mention a testimony to Krgovich and Stewart's collective creative prowess.

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