IRM is a powerfully strange album. At every turn, noise interferes with Gainsbourg's distant and enigmatic presence: voices moan, a berimbau (or is it rubber bands?) twangs, strings swoop in like vultures, leaving a path of darkness in their wake. We even hear an MRI machine. Charlotte the Cypher stands at the center, sounding like M.I.A. one minute and her mother the next, both muse and foil to Beck, who struggles and frequently succeeds at unearthing her artistic vision. The album doesn't gel, but it coalesces, coming finally into its own on the arresting finale, "La Collectioneuse."