‘Valentino’, the opening track of A New International’s debut Come To The Fabulon is all swirling strings, twanging guitars and latinate rhythms. It’s a preposterous and giddy thing. With the refrain “We come here to break your heart”, it’s a big bold statement of intent.
The rest of the album magpies from pretty much every vaguely European tradition. Be it reclaiming the polka (‘Theme From Valentino’) and chanson (‘Marie Claire), or out-Harveying Alex on ‘Come the Revolution’.
What makes this so good (and it is damn fine stuff) is the solid seam of melodicism running through the album. Above and beyond all, the tune is king. ‘I’m Your Kinda Guy’ is the kind of thing we hoped Robbie Williams was going to start producing when he started working with Stephen Duffy. You’ll swear blind you’ve known and loved ‘Our Time Was Like A dReam’ all your life.
As the name would suggest, there’s a thread of big-P politics through the album too. A New International seem keen enough on revolution, but it shouldn’t be mistaken for surfing any Brandian zeitgeist. ‘The Land Reforms’, for example, is both defiant and hopeful. Like the singalong at the close of a ballot count, when you’re down but never beaten.
Don’t make the mistake, though, of thinking this to be a genre-thieving grab-bag of styles. The album is cohesive. A singular vision. A recognisable band. It’s spaghetti western night down the Brigate Rosse social club. It’s the soundtrack to Aznavour and Brel wrestling naked in front of a fire. It’s also one of the most lush collections of sheer pop majesty you’re going to come across this year. Go on, treat yourself. You never know, they might just break you heart.