Lucien Caine are an alternative, Baroque pop band from Manchester, whose romantic and alluring lyrics are so skilfully written, that they could be extracts from a thespian play. It helps matters when the band is blessed with a charismatic frontman, whose suave sophistication orchestrates the musical backdrop. With his deep and emotive vocals, Caine conveys a theatrical versatility, which captivates and commands the attention of the listener. Filled with tales tinged with nostalgia, and seduction, Lucien Caine’s music sizzles under Latino sunshine and illuminates under the moonlight. It’s counterpoising music, providing front-row access to the unfolding dramas yet exits with a dark, dignified silence.
The Search Goes On:
“The Search Goes On” is a song which appears to be about being left feeling high and dry in matters of the heart. It’s a song whose echo-chambered vocals resonate against a lush, melancholic backdrop. It’s also a song which is lyrically bittersweet, suggesting that the protagonist is left feeling disillusioned and lost in love. With the opening lyrics: “I feel the wind blow, I wear my sun shades. First scent of summer. Flowers and archipelagos” the protagonist sounds optimistic and enamoured with a volcanic force. It’s also at this point that undercurrents of a sailor’s accordion, which emerge calmly against the melancholic piano and rotating melody.
Although “The Search Goes On” exudes a calm, sorrowful, hauntingly beautiful charm, it also delves deep into the darker waters with lyrics such as: “Cocaine and morning Brother and Sister of my life”. Such lyrics suggest either toxic love or addictive tendencies. However this darkness is soon modified with the lyrics:” The yellow globe, so warm I let myself to be burnt to eaten”, where the vocals dip into shadowed tonalities, which has all the making of a nautical melodrama. It’s at this point that the intensity of the song highlights the skilful song writing of Lucien Caine. It’s also a lyric which metaphorically speaks of “the beautiful girl” as “The yellow globe”, who as the sun appears to burn so bright within him, he resorts to wearing his “sun shades” for protection.
It’s at this point that an eerie wave of wind drifts upon the soundscape, encircling the melancholic piano like a supernatural force. The sound of distant rain in the background creates a sombre atmospheric backdrop for the bare piano which tinkles like raindrops rippling onto the sea. Such intricate details of the song suggest a change in season or a place remote from the “first scent of summer”. With such accomplished craftsmanship, “The Search Goes on” conveys a vulnerability which wears pleasure and pain on both sleeves. It’s a song whose accordion broods like a ghostly vehicle, which transports the protagonist away from the “shipwrecked pleasure”.
However, if there was ever a lyric which encapsulated the essence of the song, it has to be: “Where is the one who tames your heart….where is the one who tames your heart...”. Such a lyric is powerfully amplified through the haunting baroque backdrop, which shines the spotlight on sorrow as the central theme, but paradoxically provides a euphoric element. It’s when the melancholic cello elegantly glides across in juxtaposition against the acoustic guitars and deepened vocals that you feel a sense of heightened emotions. In particular with the lyrics, “The line is long and drawn through Capricorn. Five hours from nowhere…”, suggesting that the protagonist couldn’t feel any lonelier, feeling like an isolated island. This is in direct contrast to the cluster of warmth felt in the initial “First scent of summer flowers and archipelagos”, which has now evolved into a reminiscent closing lyric as opposed to it being a romantic reality.
Although “The Search Goes on” is a song emotionally drenched in nautical and seasonal metaphors, I think one of the strengths of the songs is the way the romanticism contrasts directly with the cynical reality, both lyrically and musically. It’s a song which delights with its exquisite and ethereal musical backdrop and whose grandiose doesn’t eclipse the heartfelt lyrics and captivating vocals.
The Beat That My Heart Skipped:
“The Beat That My Heart Skipped” is a song which looks back with heartfelt emotions, tangos with passion and glides with melancholy. It’s a song which looks through the lens of nostalgia and whose violins float like feathers in the wind. It’s also a song which conjures up images of cosy riverside picnics and midnight walks by the sea. With a baroque backdrop, “The Beat That My Heart Skipped” is a song which lyrically narrates coy inner-most feelings and whose chorus “Oh memories, Where are you take any of this time. The years and the hours unwind” encapsulates the sentiments of the song. It’s also a song which unravels like a slideshow, revealing the changing horizons through the wistful vocals and dusky soundscape. In particular during the lyrics: “One moonlit mile. We walked the bay And I dreamed for years of that first kiss…”, the violins ascend into a high fever-pitch tone, before hovering, dive-bombing and looping like loved-up hummingbirds in the sky . Along with the quivering Hammond, “The Beat That My Heart Skipped” is a song which percolates with passion and where the intensity is loosened by the dancing bongo drums. It’s a song which elegantly drifts in and out of melancholy into an ardent arena. Whereas the guitars strum in the fringes, like a wallflower at some sizzling Havana music venue, the flamboyant trumpets are as bold as brass. Yet there is a delicate intimacy about “The Beat That My Heart Skipped”, which resonates through the gentle vocals and orchestral fluidity. In essence, “The Beat That My Heart Skipped” is a sentimental love song, which sweeps you along a tropical coast and unearths treasures from a hidden island, celebrating and grieving eternal love.
“Internal Affairs” is perhaps Lucien Caine’s sexiest song and maybe it being sampled on Serge Gainsberg’s “Requiem Pour Un Con” might have something to do with it! It’s a song which is lyrically presented like a tale of seduction, delivered in rich, velvet tones which linger with a certain Je ne sais quoi. With the opening lyrics: “Internal Affairs Endless Affairs Internal Affairs Internal Affairs Endless Affairs” the song evokes an intangible caddish demeanour. It’s a song whose bold lyrics are galvanised by the excitable drums and caressing guitars. Unlike some of their other songs, “Internal Affairs” is more sexually charged than romantically driven. With the crafty lyrics: “She offers herself as theatre The third degree The Third degree burns”, “Internal Affairs” is very much a song which incites an element of suspense, thrill and intrigue. With reference to “Napoleon” and losing “lingerie In the name of art”, “Internal Affairs” is upholstered with French connotations, perhaps paying homage to Gainsberg or merely preserving the sexual and Theatrical repartee. Musically “Internal Affairs” tantalises with the subtle layer of fluttering guitars and pulsates with the signature Hammond. It’s also a song which palpitates with the Starsky and Hutch-esque guitars, creating a sexy sense of danger. However, what characterises “Internal Affairs” the most is the striking violins which jolt like lightning, conducting the song towards a melodramatic crescendo.