Originally published for The 405.
It was always to be expected that, coming from popular electronic acts, Jean-Benoit Dunckel, of French band Air, and Lou Hayter, former vocalist from New Young Pony Club, would produce an experimental album. What started off as a plan to work on a few tracks soon turned in to an album’s worth of material and so Tomorrow’s World was born. Named after the BBC’s popular science and technology show, which was cancelled in 2003, Tomorrow’s World resemble a cross between a 60s girl group and an 80s synth-pop act – kind of like The Shangri-Las meets Depeche Mode. Their self-titled debut is cinematic, grand and very dramatic.
Sometimes albums can be so elaborate, you have to imagine them in context to be able to understand them and not get distracted by all the grandeur. With Tomorrow’s World’s debut, I found it fitting to imagine it sound tracking an independent French film: one about passion and romance but with dark, sinister undertones – something a bit like The Dreamers, but without the whole creepy sibling threesome storyline.
Opening track ‘A Heart That Beats For Me’ introduces the story with a cheesy Shangri-Las-esque monologue: “He took her hand and then they flew / Beyond the impossible / In to the future.” Then, as the song progresses, there is likely to be a ‘day in the life’ montage following the female lead’s dreary, mundane routine – perhaps using time-lapse photography – with the drone on the track emphasising the monotony of the character’s life.
Then we are introduced to the character’s love interest, while ‘Think of Me’ plays – he is probably a tormented poet or artist, it is a French film after all. It is likely the two characters have yet to meet or speak and so the endless reciting of “Think of me” suggests that there is a bit of unrequited love going on here. However, the characters soon meet, with ‘Pleurer Et Chanter’ sound tracking the moment when the relationship is built and the two embark on their fiery, intense romance.
Then we reach the big twist – probably the result of some misunderstood situation which leads to a huge argument between the two lovers. ‘Don’t Let Them Bring You Down’ would accompany this scene, where everything seems to be going wrong in the protagonist’s life, so they go for a long walk in the rain and gawp at all the happy people around them before running home and crying – you know, like everyone else does.
The protagonist then goes on a bit of a bender, probably experiments with drugs, has a few random one night stands and even contemplates taking her own life (I said it would have dark undertones, remember). This would all be mashed up in to a seedy montage, accompanied by ‘Catch Me’, which contains some menacing talking bits, sultry sighs and the resounding chorus of “Dark angel / Take me away.”
But what’s a good romance without a happy ending? There is the big reconciliation moment before the film draws to an end with the lyrics on ‘Inside’ proving that this romance really is the real deal: “I love you on the inside.”