Before we start, here's a quick look at the rating system that we use here at The Dirtywhirl:
100 - Classic Album; One Of The Best Of All Time
99-90 - Exceptional Work; Rush Out And Get This
89-80 - Very, Very Good; You Should Still Go Out And Get This
79-70 - Not Bad At All; Might Actually Be Worth Your Time
69-60 - Has Its Moments But On The Whole... Meh
59-50 - Won't Make Your Ears Bleed; Won't Make You Dance, Either
49-0 - Don't Waste Your Time; You're Smarter Than This (Probably)
Now... onto the review:
Gigi | Maintenant
There’s comfort in examining the past. We get so caught up in the latest gadgets and in the newest advances that make our lives easier while simultaneously creating more problems for ourselves that it’s often comforting to think of a simpler time, even if you yourself never personally experienced that actual era. Speaking as a thirtysomething who grew up during the transition from Gen X to Gen Y, I wasn’t alive during the 60s but I’ll admit that I have at times wondered what my life would have been like had I lived during that decade. Gigi’s debut record, Maintenant, thoroughly re-creates the sound what I imagine this bygone era to be with stunning precision. Unlike many of the other notable releases of the retro-60s pop genre (Amy Winehouse’s Back To Black, Duffy’s Rockferry, Adele’s 19) that were solely sung from the ladies' perspective, Maintenant mixes both male and female voices, giving it a fresh take on the re-examination of classic pop. The nature of a 40-member (really… 40 MEMBER!) project likely leads to the disparity of sounds found on the record. The Brill Building sound of the first single, “No, My Heart Will Go On” stands next to the bossa nova of Parenthetical Girls leader Zac Pennington’s “Dreams Of Romance,” which shares space with the airy French pop of Katie Eastburn’s “The Marquee.” Maintenant runs the gamut of 60s pop styles yet manages to feel fresh. True, there’s nothing that can really be considered “new” on the record but the sound is pitch perfect for what Gigi was targeting. Maintenant creates atmosphere more than anything else – it’s easy to imagine any one of these songs playing over Mad Men’s closing credits, for example – but the lyrics are just as noteworthy for how they create a striking visual palette. You can almost feel the orange shag carpet under your feet and see the art deco walls as Pennington laments, “I showed up early to your costume party/ Dressed up like a pharaoh/ I really should have come as Robin Hood/ And done myself in with the arrow,” over skittering bossa nova on “Dreams Of Romance.” “Some Second Best” conjures an image of a trio of girls in poodle skirts cooing outside an ice cream shop while the lonely nature of “I’m Not Coming Out Tonight” and “Alone At The Pier” also shine. Maintenant is the sound of a band not really attempting to challenge its listeners per se, but instead providing them with a thoroughly accurate means for a comfortable escape to a simpler time.
Standout Tracks: “No, My Heart Will Go On;” “I’m Not Coming Out Tonight;” “Won’t Someone Tell Me?” “Alone At The Pier;” “The Marquee"
Dirty Rating: 88/100