“I hear that you and your band have sold your guitars and bought turntables. I hear that you and your band have sold your turntables and bought guitars.” LCD Soundsystem (2005)
It’s safe to assume that James Murphy doesn’t own a funked up time machine, so the fact that he managed to unintentionally predict Marie Davidson’s career trajectory is all the more impressive. Following thirteen years at the height of the underground, Davidson has pronounced that techno is dead and decided to form a good old-fashioned band. Renegade Breakdown, her fifth album, is a drastic departure in both sound and style from her previous output. Long gone are the days of minimal drum ticks and subdued synthesisers – these days she is all about trad-pop and euro-rock.
The album starts off strongly. Opener ‘Renegade Breakdown’ struts along with purpose, sounding like it’s fallen off the back of an obscure ’80s electro-pop record after one too many cups of Earl Grey. It immediately feels like Marie Davidson isn’t messing around. However, the novelty of her sonic departure quickly wears thin. The meandering guitar noodling of ‘Back to Rock’ sets the tone for much of the rest of the record, giving the feeling that Marie Davidson & L’Œil Nu have leant far too heavily on the change in direction, at the expense of the music itself.
While there are moments of clarity, such as the brilliant electro rock ‘Worst Comes to Worst’ and ‘C’est parce que j’m’en fous’, they’re too fleeting to truly rescue what ends up being an extremely mixed bag of an album.
While such a bold departure in sound should be applauded, with Renegade Breakdown Marie Davidson has created an album that misses more times than it hits. It’s too early to say for sure, but it might soon be time to sell those guitars and buy some turntables.
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