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While not quite a concept album in the traditiona­l sense, Autre Monde’s full-length debut, The Imaginary Museum, is centred around one guiding principle – imagining themselves as a leading ‘60s band who’ve been transporte­d to the ‘80s, with all its glitz, glamour, synths and excess.

True to form, there’s a touch of wit and cynicism at the heart of Paddy Hanna and co’s approach. The project is titled after Fredric Jameson’s iconic Postmodern­ism

text, in which he notes that “all that is left is to imitate dead styles”. However, while embracing the pounding confidence of ‘80s pop-rock, and paying homage to the likes of Roxy Music, Peter Gabriel and Starship in its cheesier moments, The Imaginary Museum

is more than just a posturing musical period piece.

There is no denying the influence of their producer, Girl Band’s Daniel Fox – whose dark, innovative vision brilliantl­y elevates Autre Monde’s ambitious experiment­al art-pop. Like Paddy Hanna’s solo work, behind the carefree romance of

The Imaginary Museum lies a more twisted tale – one of the album’s highlights, ‘Brain Upon Your Pillow’, is a menacing exploratio­n of sleep deprivatio­n-induced paranoia, with an eerie, two-and-a-half-minutelong ambient outro.

But even when defiantly pushing at the boundaries of genres, themes and theories, Autre Monde’s debut is a surprising­ly accessible outing – evidenced by the appearance of another standout, ‘Fever In May’, in an Audi ad. Across a tidy nine tracks, the SXSW-bound band have crafted a deeply layered project that surprises as much as it delights. A highlycomp­elling debut. OUT NOW · LUCY O’TOOLE

 ??  ?? ‘Brain Upon Your Pillow’ STRANGE BREW The Imaginary Museum Autre Monde
‘Brain Upon Your Pillow’ STRANGE BREW The Imaginary Museum Autre Monde

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