Album Reviews

Trash Palace – Positions

(universal) UK release date: 5 July 2004


“This is the way you find the Trash Palace. Take a cab into a labyrynth (sic) of lust, take a left at the park of seduction, aim for the hotel of intimacy and head down the tunnel of love, death and desire.” Dimitri Tikovoi – French dilettante / club promoter / DJ / producer / remixer – has pulled together a group of diverse talents and come up with a sleazy, seductive electro-pop album. The pretension level is stratospheric but the result is at times hypnotic and at others (intentionally) hilarious.

Take Placebo‘s Brian Molko on The Metric System. “Rock Boy is genital suck juice mad / his delicious apparatus would flutter and tremble after pubic worship / he would freeze it in jars and sell it to celebrity lesbians / good work if you can get it…”

Or the legendary John Cale narrating an erotic episode, The Insult – “I ran my tongue down the centre of her, through the sudden growth of hair, to where the skin delicately parted…” The minimalist, distorted backdrop of electronica creates a dream-like atmosphere, utterly compelling.

Jean-Louis Murat and Harriet Roberts collaborate on Macul�e Conception, her sugar-sweet English vocals contrasting with his sinister French to unsettling effect. Alison Shaw (The Cranes) offers more sugary tones on Your Sweet Love, the little-girl effect at odds with the sexual promise in the lyrics.

But that’s what this album is all about – sex in its myriad forms. And of course an album about sex would hardly be complete without Je T’Aime, Moi Non Plus, now would it? Here it’s given a dark tone by Brian Molko and Asia Argento, daughter of Italian cult horror films director Dario Argento and star of XXX. It’s good, though it’s still difficult to imagine any version truly replacing Serge and Jane.

Animal Magic is a heavy electroclash instrumental that contrasts well with some of the dreamier tracks, demonstrating if you hadn’t already realised it that the musical talent behind all the sensationalism is – well, sensational. This is four minutes of manic glory.

Mary combines both styles – it’s a cover version of Lou Reed‘s Venus in Furs, featuring Cozette, and the seductive lyrics alternate with feverish synth layers. Insatiable offers more “aural sex”, this time featuring Lian.

Positions may be a one-track theme album but the variety of musical styles huge, presumably at least partly as a result of the range of collaborators. Sex On The Beach is pure electronica, with digitalised voices and pounding drums and spiky synths. X Dummy is real electro-rock, combining great guitar riffs with bubbling synth for a real rocker of a track.

And the real stand-out track – Bad Girl – has Lian taking full control: “I’m good at being a bad girl / I’ve got the way to bring you to your knees…” in a song that mixes irresistible rock guitar, an anthemic chorus and utterly filthy lyrics. Great stuff.

Definitely one of the coolest albums of the year.


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