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Justine & The Victorian Punks – Beautiful Dreamer review

Originally out on DFA as part of the New York label’s exhaustive, enlightening and really quite impressive Peter Gordon retrospective, the story behind the two Justine & The Victorian Punks tracks is intriguing enough to warrant a separate release. The project was initiated by iconic visual artist Collette, who requested Gordon and his Love of Life Orchestra compose two tracks to accompany her Beautiful Dreamer bedroom based art installation. There’s a sense of musical heritage that runs deep through both “Beautiful Dreamer” and “Still You”. The tracks were recorded at the legendary Electric Lady Studios in just one night and have engineering credits from Jay Burnett who would later play an instrumental part in the release of “Planet Rock”.

The end result of this ultimately short lived collaboration was two tracks of delightfully decadent disco rich in detail and melody. Collette’s doe eyed spoken word delivery on “Beautiful Dreamer” lends the track an ethereal quality that is augmented by the soft melodies and backing choruses that skip beneath. This is complemented by the far sultrier “Still You” that comes across as Gainsbourg decamped to Greenwich Village and seduced by the exotic temptations of The Loft.

With the track’s originally being released on Collette’s own label Collette Is Dead Co. Ltd, original pressings are naturally near impossible to track down, so kudos to DFA for reissuing this release replete with the original saucy sepia toned artwork. The fact that Collette subsequently branded the music as ‘disco punk’ provides an inexorable link to DFA, with the label most commonly referred to as just that in the early “Losing My Edge” days.

Tony Poland