Lispector – ‘The Actress In The Background’ from ‘Small Town Graffiti’ LP
We cannot quite believe that it is seventeen years since we first told the world we were in love with the sounds made by Julie Margat/Lispector. In those intervening years she has made multiple solo recordings and been an invaluable contributor to the Go! Team and Whyte Horses gangs (amongst others), but never has she sounded quite as wonderfully WHOLE as on ‘Small Town Graffiti’. The songs remain as peculiarly infectious as ever, but whilst we can still feel the raw, rough edges of the assemblages, there is now an ever so slightly smoother surface that reflects our wrinkled crows feet. It’s not polish exactly, but rather a deeper patina of burnished experience showing through. We look in these mirrors and wonder who this is looking back at us, even as we recognise the nooks and crannies of our very souls.
There has always been something gently, naturally and oddly psychedelic about Lispector records and it’s very much visible on ‘Small Town Graffiti’. This is a world in which we paint our picket fences purple and pink, in which we trim our candyfloss bushes with nail scissors made from bubblegum. No doubt this is a reason why Dom Thomas recruited Julie into the Whyte Horses fold early, and there is a super reproduction of ’Astrologie Siderale’ (first heard on ‘Pop Or Not’) on here that is splendidly frenetic and marginally unhinged.
It’s ‘Actress In The Background’ that we keep coming back to, however, with it’s list-type song structure through which Julie seems to look at herself in that aforementioned mirror in an attempt to make some sense of her/our world. For a French artist named after a Brazilian author singing in English then it is a marvellous encapsulation of identity… well, not crisis, and certainly not confusion, but more diffusion… It’s a song that deftly taps into contemporary questions of identity and reality, gently questioning notions of self and society perception. The song has no answers of course, and instead slips slowly into a surreal blend of language (“I am the actress in the omelette”) which is in itself a neat summation of Where We Find Ourselves In 2019. It’s a dedication to natural diversity; a paean to the overlooked, forgotten and ignored; a hymn to the Unpopular outsiders, happy in our isolation.