Rarely does a musical project live up to the billing of ‘supergroup’. Until now, that is. L’Épée combines the stellar talents of The Brian Jonestown Massacre’s Anton Newcombe, cinematic femme fatale Emmanuelle Seigner and ice-cool pop provocateurs The Limiñanas (Lionel and Marie Liminana); thus transcending both artistic and traditional borders. Elements of garage, ye-ye, sleaze rock, cult soundtracks, sci-fi, spaghetti westerns and girl-group pop noir are combined with the cut-and-thrust zeal of a band bursting with ideas and energy.
“We are living in very culturally insular times, so it feels really good to be swimming against the tide. There’s something really positive about branching out, collaborating and taking risks.”
“We are living in very culturally insular times, so it feels really good to be swimming against the tide,” says Anton of the band’s bi-lingual, cross-continental approach. “There’s something really positive about branching out, collaborating and taking risks.” Far from being defeated by a world seemingly regressing into turmoil, L’Épée’s strength comes from a long history of challenging the status quo. From Anton’s legendary battles with ‘The Man’ with The Brian Jonestown Massacre to Emmanuelle’s eclectic screen career (she delivers the album in a sultry Gallic drawl which will send a frisson of recognition through anyone familiar with her iconic roles in, among many others, Frantic, Venus In Fur and Bitter Moon (all directed by her husband, Roman Polanski)) to The Liminana’s community-minded ethos- setting up their own record shop, L.G.D.C, and promoting gigs by the cream of the world’s garage rock scene, they share a fierce intelligence and an outsider aesthetic which, over the decades, has been sharpened to a razor’s edge. Fitting, then, that their name translates as The Sword. “It came to me in a dream,” explains Anton. “I woke up and there it was, ‘The Sword’. Someone told me there had already been a band with that name so I flipped it into French. It suits the band because we’re united in a common cause.”
This pent-up creative energy has been channelled into their extraordinary debut album, Diabolique. Named in tribute to Mario Bava’s 1968 cult classic Danger: Diabolik, it’s a musical masterclass. Throughout, it’s shot through with a sense that L’Epee are embarking on a mission to a destination as yet unknown. Or, in the words of ‘The Last Picture Show: “Blood on the floor/ The thirteenth floor/ I’m dressed to kill/I need more.”
“It’s the combination of the four of us which makes it work,” says Emmanuelle of L’Épée’s rare alchemy. “I’ve been waiting for these people all my life.”
“I’m never out of ideas and neither is Lionel, and that’s a wonderful place to be,” says Anton in conclusion of their future plans. “The goal is to get another record in the pipeline. I just hope it gets some wings and flies some place.” For L’Épée, the sky really is the limit. Tour coming soon.
Diabolique is out now via a recordings.