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Shiver

Virna Lindt

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Album Review

Thanks to the chance meeting of translation student Virna Lindt and Compact label guru Tot Taylor on a train, as the liner notes to the reissue of Shiver explain, Lindt and Compact first made its mark with the nervy John Barry-meets-new wave mania of "Attention Stockholm," the single which also leads off her debut album as a whole. Spy atmospherics permeate the album and not just in sound — thus song titles like "The Dossier on Virna Lindt" and "Letter to Sergei." But while Lindt and her musical collaborators (led by Taylor, credited among other things with playing "Bond guitars") are definitely enamored of a mythical jet-set past where dapper secret agents are busy running around space age sets with a drink in hand, there's actually less per se retro about Shiver than many other albums that followed in its wake — instead of simply cool styles, things at times feel nervous, jittery, a response to a time and place (early-'80s U.K. grimness, in the music scene and real life) that's of the moment. That said, the moody-start-of-the-film feeling of "Episode One" practically begs to soundtrack a sequence where Dirk Bogarde hauls a body out of the Seine. Lindt herself acts less as the lead singer and more as the narrator of her own adventures, a Modesty Blaise running rampant and occasional striking reflective poses amid orchestral swells and energetic percussion. When she does take a more formal lead singing role, she comes across as a bit light if not unpleasantly so, as on "Pillow Talk." Meantime, the jaunty piano-led kick of "I Beat the System" and the moody '70s rather than '60s lounge-ness of "Underwater Boy" shows that there's more here than a restrictive stereotype. [The reissue includes three bonus cuts, among them a cover of "The Windmills of Your Mind" and the enjoyable single "I Experienced Love."]

Shiver, Virna Lindt
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