The Imaginary Museum is the debut album by Dublin’s Autre Monde. Released through Strange Brew Records (Junior Brother, Squarehead, Daithi), the long-player follows a run of singles and an EP stretching back to 2017. Put together over several sessions with Girl Band's Daniel Fox as producer, the album's 9 songs mark a definitive statement from a band who have evolved their earlier interpretations of post-punk/art-pop to arrive at a richer, more expressive moment, often taking folk-ish melodies and structures as a launchpad. Touchpoints include Brian Eno, Peter Gabriel, Roxy Music, Harmonia, Fairport Convention circa ‘Liege & Leaf’, Grace Jones, the Human League, Alex Cameron - and most especially the organising principle to make a record “by a band who were playing esoteric post-punk in 1979 but who are now transplanted to 1986 where a hit is demanded”.
Autre Monde emerged from the ashes of the Popical Island collective as its headquarters fell victim to the city’s relentless purge of cultural spaces in 2017. Indeed, the first Autre Monde rehearsal was on the last day of the Pop Inn’s existence as a venue/rehearsal/recording space on Little Britain Street. They quickly gained attention for their early singles and stirring live performances, with The Thin Air insisting they were “one of the very best bands in the country”. The Irish Times noted that Autre Monde were “mining Television, ESG, Suicide and the The Slits”, and that’s
about right. A murky, exploratory self-title EP followed (with 8-minute Can via Pentangle-channelling highlight Your Name still a favourite in live sets) before the band set out to make The Imaginary Museum in summer 2018. They signed to Strange Brew in 2019 in time to release the first fruits of those sessions.
The album title is taken from a line in Fredric Jameson’s ‘Postmodernism: The Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism’ where he writes: “in a world in which stylistic innovation is no longer possible, all that is left is to imitate dead styles, to speak through the masks and with the voices of the styles in the imaginary museum”.
Autre Monde are Paddy Hanna (vocals), Padraig Cooney (bass, synth, vocals), Mark Chester (guitar) and Eoghan O’Brien (drums, synth, backing vocals). Three of them are from Dublin and Mark is from Cumbria. They met through their involvement together in a network of bands that at one stage or another were central to the Popical Island collective (Skelocrats, Grand Pocket Orchestra, Ginnels, No Monster Club).
2. On The Record
3. Balls Of Your Suit
4. Three Mandolins
5. Fever In May
7. The Operator
8. Truly Glowing