Almost all my life I hated everything French and even when that hatred got less hating, I couldn’t find anything good from that country. But suddenly, since last spring I feel bombarded with great French things that try to drag me to the noir, pardon – dark – side. Sacrebleu! After discovering A Backward Glance On A Travel Road I don’t think I can resist much more!
These four Frenchmen just released their début staying mainly in neofolk borders, but at the same time pushing them a little further. What are their inspirations? Horror? Old church music? Flamenco? Nostalgic southern songs? I could try and keep guessing, but the important thing is that once again I was proved that (bad) old France didn’t die yet and can give us something really worth trying. So do!
Regular Barbary begins the album with a great passion. Amazing parts of acoustic guitar, switchfrom melancholic, classic passages to a dancing fury. Add some canteen piano, distorted speech and at last lovely male vocal and female screams, and with few other minor surprises, you get an amazing song.
Falling is a darker tune, filled with very delicate guitar&strings and a dialogue between moaning woman and reminding choir. The atmosphere gets really elegiac and subdued with drum in proper places. I was falling... into enchantment!
But every good band knows that they have to surprise their listener with changes. Johnny Got His Gun is introduced by slow, shy guitar growing to eventually burst and culminate the pressure during a short speech. In its simplicity, Johnny has a lot of dark power that can shake you really well.
In Absentia is a two parted, long composition with more classic usage of instruments. Of course it is still about acoustic guitars, charming voices and a some distortion, but there are also drums and a lot of nicely innocent (but so enriching) strings. Although the second part is maybe a bit more fragile and neofolkish with its one, characteristic riff and a little opera-performance.
Hier Régnant Désert has a form of a music argument – first you hear one idea – mad guitar trip, but as it’s disliked by our talker-interpreter, he proposes another, more dreamy one with a spectacular guitar combination (harmonics!<3). To me – both ideas are lovely!
Heat is much different from the rest of the album – least neofolk I’d say and definitely the most catchy one. And it’s also my favourite – a great instrumental base with stunning bridges, heart-breaking vocals and a really nice lyric. But surely they know it’s such a treasure, cause it’s Heat that is a first video (beautiful and really interesting, I couldn’t decide at first whether I liked guys' beards or story more;))
Approximativement Moi gives old piano, moaning, undecided strings and a ghostly voice. You can think of a horror or an old French cathedral (although those don’t have much singing nowadays I heard). I think of a perfect epilogue to that album. Now, can we please play that again?