Jules Et Jim was another of Julianne Regans side projects that she explored after the original break up of her more famous band All About Eve (AOE). After the end of the first band she tried after AOE Mice (my "New And Improved" album review is also available on here) she had a break for 1 year before hooking up with Jean-Marc Lederman in 1999, the band Jules Et Jim as an entity only released 1 single (Swimming, which isn't on this CD release oddly enough) and this EP.
Julianne Regan wrote & performed all vocals (apart from one) whilst Jean-Marc Lederman played all the instruments.
So whats on Subtitles then?
01 - If Life Were A Movie.
There are lots of movie references in this, I'll admit I can't spot half of them. Its got a great upbeat chorus which really makes a good contrast to the down toned main verses. Theres lots of drums (a drum machine I assume) but the other instruments are mixed down low enough for Regans vocal to be lovely and clear alongside them. The synthy chords in the chorus are really mellow too.
02 - What Are The Chances?
A song about saying too much where a few words would have done the same job, its very slow and psychadelic. Its somewhere between jazz fusion and trip hop, slap bang in the middle really with the synth chords from the trip hop world and the brass section from the jazz world. Another one thats nothing like anything Regan had previously written. More like something by Massive Attack if I am honest but its different enough to be enjoyable.
03 - I Only Have Eyes For You.
Yep, its a cover song. As written by Harry Warren and Al Dubin in 1934 so its hardly a new song, probably the best known version of this was recorded in 1959 by The Flamingos and features in the movie American Graffitti. This version is very trip hop again with a serious breakbeat over the whole track of it. Regans voice has been treated in some way as its not as clear as it usually is, this is quite a fun track though. My only complaint is its too long.
04 - It's A Beautiful World.
The rather heavy frequencies on the opening of this are extremely oppressive and rather painful to listen to on headphones so I'd recommend speakers only for this track. Its a track that can't decide if its drum 'n bass or disco or a rather oddly advised mix of the 2 which doesn't quite work.
I'd have to assume Lederman is the drum machine fan, the lyrics to "My Favourite Things" from The Sound Of Music are equally out of place here. Imagine a really heavy bass drum version of Madonna's "Beautiful Stranger" turned up to the point of distortion and you'd get something like this track. Totally not my kind of thing, least favourite track for me.
05 - Sylvia.
A rather Lo-Fi intro with analogue sounding synths that sound like crashing waves (the lyrics explain that a little later). The lyrics are rather surreal (no doubt the French influence of Lederman there again), Regan has been odd in her lyrical structures before but never quite as barking mad as this. Its quite a mellow track though if still a tad heavy on the bass again.
06 - Queen Kerosene.
A rather muted synth pretending to be a church organ with very mixed down vocals open this but everything is very rapidly faded up to a cacophony. Theres quite a Beatles influence (circa "Within Without You") but quite frankly its too bloody loud and does Regans voice no favours at all.
Extra tracks available on Amazon:-
If you look under downloads you can get this entire album for a ridiculously cheap price and also get 4 extra tracks that aren't included on the official CD release which are as follows.
Only A Fool (Underwater Remix), Swimming (Original Mix), Swimming (Plastic Boat Remix) and What Are The Chances (Fairies Remix). Each of the following cost me the insanely cheap price of 69p each (actually they cost me bog all due to have money left over from a voucher!).
As these were only previously available on the cd jewel case release of the Swimming CD single I would definately recommend getting hold of these as I get the feeling trying to find a physical copy of that CD will be close to impossible so buying them like this is the next best thing.
Front Cover - Thats a picture of Julianne in either a pink or red car. I can't tell, my colour vision isn't all that great. She looks pretty foxy and pale in a suitably Gothic way though.
Inlay - Contains the lyrics to everything except I only have eyes for you (I assume for copyright or licensing issues), all are written in a mixture of white and blue text in an extremely small font. The blue text is barely visible due to being printed onto a purple space type background. There is also a track listing which shows running times for each track on the inlay.
Back Cover - Another track listing in much larger white text as well as a full list of who did what on the EP, the jules et jim web site address is also listed (www.julesetjim.net) but the address doesn't work any more. Please dont ask me what the images in the film strips are, I can't make them out.
Summing Up - If I am honest I think Lederman had a larger part in the musical creation of this album with Regan simply providing her lyrics to music Lederman had clearly already written. I can understand why this EP was so unpopular with AOE fans as it was simply just TOO different from anything they or Mice after them had done. Its not even close to anything that Seeing Stars (another AOE spin-off band) had done either.
So would I recommend this EP? If you want to be able to say that you own some of Juliannes more rare stuff then yes by all means buy it (heck, I did!), if you look on Amazon you might just find it for a bargain price like I did.
(this review also appears on Ciao)
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 If Life Were A Movie
2 What Are The Chances
3 I Only Have Eyes For You
4 It's A Beautiful World
6 Queen Kerosene