Album Review: Musée Mecanique: Hold This Ghost

Musée Mecanique
Hold This Ghost
Frog Stand Records


Musée Mecanique is one of those bands who puts way more into their songs — both the writing and performance — than the short-attention-span musical culture of the US requires. Delicate quiet vocals that trace out long melodic lines, couched in brushed drums and string arrangements.  I’m reminded of Paul Simon before he got so full of himself, but the two contemporary musical productions “Hold The Ghost” reminds me most of is Charlotte Gainsbourgs work with the French band Air, and Blonde Redhead’s trippier tracks. But a song like “Fits and Starts” is more conventionally structured, almost (but not quite) the sort of thing you’d expect from a Nashville song writer.

“Sleeping In Our Clothes” immediately pushes things back into the lush, studied weirdness, the singer’s voice floating sweetly above sustained harmonium chords. The mellotron flutes and glockenspiel of “Nothing Glorious” have the psychedelic lushness of ruffled-shirt 60’s bands like The Left  Banke.  The gentle lilt of “Hold The Ghost” can almost be too much for one sitting though; my wife’s capsule review was “they need to vary the tempo more.”   I think she may have a point — as perfectly crafted and evocative as each song is, they can run together if you listen to them all in one go.

Be that as it may, if one of these songs comes up on iPod by itself, it’s always a treat, and some distance from most of the contemporary music you’re likely to hear.