Review - Pink Elephants

Artist: Mick Harvey

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In "Pink Elephants," Mick Harvey conjures the ghost of Serge Gainsbourg in his second recording of the French composer's material. Harvey's painstakingly labored English translations cleverly echo the tongue-in-cheek double-entendres that were ever-present in Gainsbourg's work.

Harvey enlisted the generous vocal talents of Anita Lane to interpret material originally intended to be sung by women such as Brigitte Bardot or Juliette Greco. Harvey successfully evokes Gainsbourg's dark, obsessive nature in "Manon" and "Black Seaweed," while suicidal references surface in "The Ticket Puncher." Lust is a heavy factor on most of the material, as displayed in "Anthracite" or the erotic, "I love you ... nor do I," a duet with Lane and Nick Cave of Bad Seeds fame.

Harvey's astute reproduction of Gainsbourg's material teleports us to the debauched Paris of Henry Miller and Anais Nin -- complete with its elaborate architecture and red-lit narrow quarters where the wine always flows and artists perpetually starve.

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