Considering that double albums are usually a disc too long and live albums outstay their welcome even sooner, let’s gloss over one half of ‘Stage Whisper’ – the half that is a very fine collection of concert recordings, but of tracks largely already available to any Charlotte Gainsbourg fan. To the 7-track studio album, then, which is dazzling enough by itself in any case, from the opening scuzzy synth pop of ‘Terrible Angels’ that toys with trashily spat passages to the much more ladylike folk closer, ‘Memoir’. On both occasions, and everywhere in between, Gainsbourg sounds far more English than you’d expect the daughter of archetypal Frenchman Serge to be, but that one consistency aside, although short, ‘Stage Whisper’ is as varied as any record featuring Beck, Villagers and Noah & The Whale was bound to be. What’s more, Gainsbourg flicks from the double bass-led, sombre ‘White Telephone’ to disco thump of ‘Paradisco’ with an ease so effortless it makes you think she can do anything.
By Stuart Stubbs