Every year seems to have one month where riveting surprises and essential releases come at ears in a keen flood. This year it is maybe two as October follows September in unleashing records which simply inflame the imagination, an increasing list now added to by the irresistible and rather deranged offering from öOoOoOoOoOo (“Chenille” in French, “Caterpillar” in English).
A new collaboration between former Pin-Up Went Down vocalist/lyricist Asphodel and multi-instrumentalist Baptiste Bertrand, öOoOoOoOoOo creates a theatre of sound and imagination within debut album Samen. “Visually built as an art exhibition”, the release is a kaleidoscope of styles and invention cast in an avant-garde/experimental metal/rock adventure. Helped by the rhythmic prowess of session drummer Aymeric Thomas who is no stranger to creating off-kilter and seriously unpredictable exploits with Pryapisme, the duo ignite and enslave ears and psyche from the very first seconds of Samen, never relinquishing their magnetic grip of mercurial enterprise driven alchemy.
Rules Of The Show opens things up, the track initially enticing with a tender melody as a darker groan lurks before quickly welcoming the instantly impressing tones of Asphodel. Her voice is as magnetic as the sounds brewing around her with a growing blend of bewitching harmonies courting as the song slips into a catchy stroll with a poppy air. Soon it unleashes its hellish heart in a ravenous metallic outpouring as honed in gothic and epic metal as it is through orchestral and melodic rock. It is a virulently infectious affair, its tempestuousness icing on the compelling cake with Bertrand’s barbarous death bred growls extra engaging bait.
Its increasingly deranged presence is followed by that of Fucking Freaking Futile Freddy a track wearing Pryapisme like scent at times but equally sparking thoughts of bands like The Creatures and Stolen Babies. Thomas is a blur of rhythmic tenacity, Asphodel vocally captivating, while Bertrand creates a tapestry of sonic and melodic bedlam shaped into one fluid skittishly versatile weave.
From one pinnacle within Samen to another and the creative devilry of Meow Meow Frrru, a track teasing with melodic intrigue while taunting with bolder energies, the first shaped by electronic fingering with a slight medieval essence and the latter through climatic crescendos which become more irritable and prolonged with each expulsion. The deeper into its insanity the song goes the more it evolves, an espionage loaded hook and System Of A Down flavoured revelry especially tempting.
Straight away the suggestive lures of cello from guest and Psygnosis member Raphaël Verguin charm ears and imagination as the following No Guts = No Masters launches its bruising and increasingly dramatic rock ‘n’ roll upon ears. A blackened air grabs the senses at times, its occasional trespass imposing on the glorious melodic seducing surrounding the shining vocal prowess and class of Asphodel and a psychotic majesty which would be almost sinister if it was not so glorious and irresistible.
Verguin also features on next up Bark City (A Glimpse Of Something), his bow on strings the poetic shadow to a track which merges the melodic beauty of a Nemesea with the dark secrets of creative dementia, all on show in a track which kisses the senses as it corrupts the psyche. Again understandably there is a touch of Pryapisme to the song but equally Russkaja, Siouxsie and The Banshees, and Die So Fluid are pointers to the uniqueness of the band’s sound.
There is a Fleetwood Mac/Stevie Nicks feel to the bewitching Purple Tastes Like White, the track yet another brazenly diverse aspect to the landscape of Samen with the brooding bass a particular treat alongside the melodic might of Asphodel while I Hope You Sleep Well is a cracked and bedlamic web of ideas and imagination stirring sounds hard to describe in words but so easy to physically indulge in with its sinister nursery room childlike innocence and crazed invasive genius.
With Adrien Cailleteau guesting as on its predecessor, Well-oiled Machine draws ears next with its soulful R&B infused balminess. With a flaming sax igniting the jazzy noir atmosphere of the brief song, all courting the somewhat pub-singer like fun of the male vocals, the song only leaves a smile in the imagination before the outstanding Chairleg Thesis dances with the listener in an eighties spiced affair which is at times as ruggedly boisterous as it is erotically seductive and ravenously stormy.
Across the screwy pop/hip hop soaked metal of Fumigène, a song revelling in a Lady Dynamite meets The Sugarcubes meshuga, and the gothic rock drama of LVI where band and album explore even more enjoyable expectations defeating adventures, the latter with Germain Aubert and Verguin bringing their individual craft, the inescapable lure of Samen just strengthens.
Completed by the fierce death metal toned blaze of Hemn Be Rho Die Samen, a song soon showing an array of contrasting yet perfectly uniting strands to its inventive disorder and predacious appetite, Samen leaves an exhausted and blissful pleasure in its wake. Even in the most off-kilter sounds and releases there is an order, an underlying texture which links all. Within Samen it is only the members of öOoOoOoOoOo themselves as unpredictability and unbridled imagination locked into one glorious ride.
Samen is released October 21st via Apathia Records, available @ https://apathiarecords.bandcamp.com/album/samen
Pete RingMaster 20/10/2016
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