The Limiñanas are like a long lost French love letter full of sweet nothings placed into a bottle and delivered to uncharted corners of the globe and infused with new meaning, significance, and emotion via the changing tides of the sea. For the enamoring sound they’ve crafted over the years is back and more radical, entrancing, and diverse than ever on their dazzling new LP, Costa Blanca, released via the amazing folks at the Chicago based label, Trouble In Mind Records.
Lionel and Marie Limiñana of Perpigan, France form the main leadership behind the Limiñanas, and have over seen and incorporated an ever changing cast of musicians into their band over the years leading to numerous singles, a handful of LPs, and of course a number of tours. All of which is predicated upon the re-visitation and exploration of signature French-pop twisted with a hint of classic cinematic grandeur and coated with a layer of surreal spoken word and verse.
The first track, “Je me souviens comme si j’y étais”, which translates to something along the lines of “I Remember As If I Was There”, melts from nothing into a bright mind-bending sitar induced atmosphere, as if dropping into a dream in media res, and begins a progressive instrumental and vocal build-up highlighted by a very clean and punchy sounding bass interwoven with a wild arrangement of vividly folksy strings envying an exotic eastern and western Mediterranean sensation all at once. As it turns out, the later, that is– these haunting folk fluctuations, prove to be a rather predominant theme, sonically speaking.
This proves to be the very much the case in the mandolin injected track, “My Black Sabbath”, a track, which despite the dark sounding implications of its title, is more of an upbeat tune with mystic qualities largely elicited, again, from a variety of bizarre string instrumentation.
“Alicante” ignites right where the preceding track left off building upon the transcendental qualities with a liberated organ embodying a flow and vibrance every bit as colorful, warm, and inviting as the city itself and its incredible citizens. Yet, this upbeat sound proceeds towards an underlying feeling of ominousness and foreboding in many ways much like the actual Castillo de Santa Bárbara– a castle high up on a hill overlooking the city that, despite it’s picturesque view by day, can appear quite spooky, surreptitious, and sinister by night. Culminating in the last few measure of the song, this blend of dark and light proves to be quite a forceful finale to an incredible track.
As the name strongly suggests, the fourth track, “Votre coté yéyé m’emmerde”, sees the Limiñanas return to their French-Pop/yéyé roots in what is indeed quite a bouncily hallucinatory tune with one hell of an edge, attitude, and groove.
The chromatically dark, blue, and eerie imagery evoked by “Cold Was the Ground” from the name, to the instrumentation, to the icy vocals– as if breathlessly whispered on the most frigid, dreariest, and inhospitable of days– is indeed, chilling, and serves as a great segue into the sole Italian song on the album, “i miei occhi sono i tuoi occhi”, a track that sounds like something of a freaky Italian circus no one was ever meant to discover. In fact, it appears as if this song may be an uneasy inspection of identity and perspective as it’s title roughly translates to “My Eyes are Your Eyes”. Of course, that’s just speculation as my Italian is unfortunately not very “buono”. Nevertheless, it is certainly a wonderful and seemingly deep song.
“La Mercedes de couleur gris métallisé”, a song likely about a gray Mercedes, even if not the most instrumentally minimal track on the album, certainly seems as such given it’s straightforwardly constructed beat punctuated by a fuzzy blaring wall of powerful barre-chords towards the songs end reminiscent of some of the fine guitar-work in their other releases. The attitude of the album takes a sudden turn for the uplifting in “Rosas”, a wonderfully funky, mod-beat, wah-laden, and mostly instrumental track interspersed, again, by bursts of crunchy guitar goodness.
From here, the next 2 of the next five tracks “Barrio Chino” and “La Mediterranée” divulge from the remaining tracks with their brevity, more like slight atmospheric intermissions or side thoughts. On the other hand, the full mosaic of novel Mediterranean tones harnessed by the Limiñanas flares into full force in two roughly 5-minute grooves, “Bb” and “Liverpool”.
On the other hand, “La mélancolie” is every bit as quaintly curious and whimsically reflective as one might imagine with vocal harmonies, distant 12-string riffs, buoyant acoustic progression, and cordial tambourine piecing together a piece that for it’s supposed wistful roots, manages to embody a forward sense of expectation.
Taken as a whole, the vibes, feelings, imagery, and of course, sounds the Limiñanas have expertly integrated is nothing short of extraordinary and makes for yet another spell-binding release in the annals of Trouble In Mind’s incredible history.