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Gamine - Sabotage


Ethereal mood music with vintage sense of drama.

Like fellow monochrome romantics Goldfrapp, this London duo would've been more at home in early 60's Paris. All grand pianos in empty rooms and end-of-the-affair longing, their debut's desolate laments echo with tenderness and a beauty that's both very French and incredibly bleak. For every floating arpeggio played by composer Ian Williams, there's a minor comedown to undercut singer Claudia Barton's serene swoon. Street in Manhattan's slurred trumpet and Black Window's sleazy tango compound the general air of innocence corrupted, and with Barton's melodies being as sinister as they are seductive, Sabotage is absolutely enchanting.

Dan Gennoe - Q, April 2003

Gamine - Sabotage


London duo's decadent-pop debut.

Claudia Barton and Ian Williams inhabit a familiar London dreamworld of charity shop glamour, bedsit bohemia and adored icons including Gallic chanteuses, Weimar ice divas, noir film scores and femme fatales, soiled with Soho seediness.

Williams' melodramatic, semi-classical, piano-led arrangements frame Barton's breathily versatile voice in these arch tales of romantic doom. The Tindersticks, Jack, even St. Etienne have been here before, but Gamine's eccentric, underground self-belief leaves them sounding like no one else.

Nick Hasted - Uncut, March 2003



Gamine - Sabotage

Wish this record was a country so I’d move there. It’s an era, a period, enjoyed by people like Hemingway and Gertrude Stein. Singer Claudia Barton and pianist/songwriter Ian Williams drove about 500 miles to get to a 1907 Steinway & Sons piano to record this, their debut album, one of magical Franco-ballads and intimate keyboarding.

Title track and opener should instantly relocate you to a Parisian night the likes of Brassai captured forever on file—delicate trilling piano with chanteuse Claudia’s malleable voice. One shall fervently desire to dance ‘Oh, What A Kiss!’ though and feel a mythical nostalgia with every accordion accent.

French loveliness via England comes rich as aged cognac. ‘Love And Poverty’, ‘Happy Birthday’ and ‘Street In Manhattan’ the duo play in this downstairs bar while the house lady refills my brandy and offers me a champagne on the house. Everywhere people’s hearts are being broken. The girl selling red roses comes in whispering the words to ‘Checkmate’ and the piano starts again—thinking it’s ‘Für Elise’ with a false start but then the trumpeter flows in, scratching your spine, as Claudia enchants you on ‘Good Hand’.

As all good stories end, so does this excursion. We danced to ‘Black Window’, kissed to ‘Requiem No. 1’ (“Let go your dearest/ leave prized possessions/ they’ll be picked up by the nearest procession”), and with ‘The Goodbye Story’ the curtain unfurls and we all go home happy. 8.5.

-ea01/may 2003 rewireviews


Gamine - Sabotage

A classic melodramatic moment

Claudia Barton and Ian Williams leben in ihrer Londoner Traumwelt aus "Charity Shop Glamour" und den bunten Lichtern des nächtlichen Soho. Würde man die beiden jedoch ausschließlich nach ihrer Musik beurteilen, so würde man sie wohl eher im Paris der sechziger Jahre vermuten denn ihr Debüt-Album "Sabotage", klingt wie der verschollene Soundtrack eines "Film Noir" Klassikers anno 1961.

Williams schafft mit seinem melodramatischen Pianospiel den optimalen Rahmen um Claudia Bartons eindrucksvolle Stimme in Szene zu setzen. Manchmal klingt es etwas nach Goldfrapp ein anderes Mal wie Tindersticks und ab und an auch wie St. Etienne! Dennoch wäre es schlichtweg falsch dem Album seine Individualität abzusprechen, indem man es mit oben genannten vergleicht. Sabotage ist ein großes Album, das vermutlich erst nach mehrmaligen Anhören die versteckte Genialität seiner monochromen Romantik entfaltet. Messerscharf, bittersüß und gefährlich!

Thomas Schulze - Popular Music Best-Of-Lists List, May 2003




Gamine - Sabotage

Gamine is a duo consisting of Ian Williams and Claudia Barton. Their music is nostalgic for an era that never was. All their songs detail romance of the saddest kind. Claudia Barton's voice is a lot like Sarah Cracknell's, all wispy and sweet.

Ian Williams' compositions create an aural equivalent of a very chic and stylish french film. "Oh,What a Kiss" is an accordion-swept meditation on that subject delivered in a swoonsome way by Barton. "Love and Poverty" is a piano ballad with a moving subject matter. "Requiem no 1" is gorgeously melancholic. "Loving too much will get you killed" muses Barton in her most waif-like way. The contrast between what she's singing and how it's sung is used well. "Street in Manhattan" is a jazzy little number with a muted trumpet part.

It's a charming album to be sure. One that will make you feel as if you're living in a film while listening to it.

Anna Maria Stjärnell - Luna Kafé e-Zine, April 2003

Full Moon 80 - 04/16/03


Gamine - Sabotage


Gamine are clearly a band out of time for 2003. Frozen in a period of film noir, the duo of Ian - who composes - and Claudia Barton, the chanteuse, have delivered an album of classy, wounded ballads that belong to another era altogether. They even offer gifts of their own brand of perfume to their "lady fans" at concerts. Sedate and morose, they are like a less tricksy version of Goldfrapp; their vision unadorned by trip-hop effects which makes their music even more authentically filmic. Occasional diversions into unusual song structures like tango in 'Black Window' offer pleasing surprises but their defining moment is the show-stopping eight minutes of 'A Good Hand', a classic melodramatic moment by anyone's standards. The only question is where does this type of music fit into the modern agenda?

Jonathan Leonard - Leonard's Lair, March 2003