Rules of three work best of all when the parts are experienced as one. Christine and the Queens bring about paranoid antics, true love’s embrace and some spots of heaven on their latest album. Paranoïa, Angels, True Love is not just a littered and brief list of ideas, but experiences which listeners can tune in and out of across this latest release from the electropop essentialists. An absolute and mood-shifting titan of an album was on the horizon. Nearly one-hundred minutes of existential, French language crisis. Have you got the fear yet? Let Paranoïa, Angels, True Love grip you with that expression, that flavourful collection of ranged, emotive tracks. Madonna and 070 Shake feature throughout, the ballast to an otherwise incredible, self-critical fourth studio work.
Formidable electrics, effective and operatic intentions, an opening Overture sets up Paranoïa, Angels, True Love as an experience. Deep in its momentum, through this thick fog of moody atmospherics, the spoken-word confidence which comes through, the position of power Redcar holds, they can see everything is, of course, glorious. Personable defiance rallied through on a deep, dark stumble through clear iconography and decent beats to underscore these slick and darker intentions. Spread out across a triple album, the exposure of tears on the freeway found on Tears Can Be So Soft, the openness of emotional observation from Christine and the Queens is charming and disarming. Defenceless we listen on, and it is through the impartiality Paranoïa, Angels, True Love soon grips the soul. Noisy percussion and slick guitars work their way through Marvin Descending and touch on something new for Christine and the Queens.
Confidence is crucial to any work but Christine and the Queens find themselves pushing somewhere new and equally classical. They enlist familiarity of tone and string on Full of Life. Reinvention of the classics, thrust into a new way of thinking. Paranoïa, Angels, True Love, is as good as it gets. A powerful and championing exploration of self and soul. Tonally assured and the likes of Track 10, an eleven-minute powerhouse, prove it. Madonna features as an omnipotent narrator in parts, prodding the listener with questions of their comfort, and their isolation. No, it is not good to eat meals for two in one, isolated go. But here we are. Christine and the Queens’ defiant shift in tone, in darker, moodier imagery, cements itself as one of the great changes of the tide, as Nick Cave and Suede did in recent years. Completely different in sound, but similar in ability and intent.
Utterly devastating from start to finish, Paranoïa, Angels, True Love is a possessed album, one booming with quality and range. “Do you suffer from loneliness,” I Met An Angel prods. Madonna is relentless. Leave well alone. But this sinister pressure, the extremes at which Christine and the Queens have gone to make this an engulfing experiment in music, is impressive beyond belief. True Love stands out as the contrast to those alarming, intense Madonna moments. Christine and the Queens enlist 070 Shake on the gentler moments, the passionate throes of Let Me Touch You Once which blurs its French language interjections with gorgeous continuations of the work found on True Love. All of it comes together with considered momentum, a scorching, important release.