The Limiñanas

Shadow People

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    8
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On their 2018 album Shadow People, French duo the Limiñanas don't budge an inch from the formula they honed to a knife edge on all the albums that preceded it. Starting in 2010, Lionel and Marie Limiñana mapped out territory that hit the sweet spot where the Jesus and Mary Chain, the Velvet Underground, sultry French pop, and Italian soundtrack music all meet to smoke cigarettes and look hard. The basic template is the same here, and like everything else they do, the fun is in the precision with which they deliver their songs and the occasional deviation that snaps the listener to life. Sometimes they do it through stripping back the noise to an acoustic core; sometimes they add an arresting vocalist or guest; sometimes they uncover a gleaming nugget of a melody. On Shadow People they bring in cool people to do their thing: Peter Hook again to play some swooping bass on the New Order-sounding "The Gift," Anton Newcombe of the Brian Jonestown Massacre to add his distinctive vocals to the strutting "Istanbul Is Sleepy," and French actress Emmanuelle Seigner to give the insistently hooky title track some cinematic class. The duo give the formula a slight twist on "Dimanche," mixing in some burbling sequenced pulses below the typically driving late-night rocker, and on "Pink Flamingos" they dial back the pounding beats to deliver a crystalline pop song framed by tinkling pianos and buzzing organs. Add in some typically tough and tender songs that sound like they were written and recorded in between gang fights, and Shadow People ends up being a quintessentially Limiñanas-sounding Limiñanas album. Nothing too shocking, but also nothing to give lovers of their sound any pause or worries that, after releasing so many records in a short time frame, they might start phoning it in. The Limiñanas sound like they're too cool and nonchalant to even have a phone, much less use one to make a less than great record.

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