Hailing from Rennes, French alternative rock band In A Nutshell gives little away it seems about their background, certainly in English text for us linguistically challenged individuals, but what we can certainly tell you is that the band has just sculpted and released one highly appetising album. Created by the quartet of vocalist/guitarist Yannick Dilly, guitarist Alexis Bouvier, bassist Gaëtan Costard, and drummer Camille Carte, Quandary is a thoroughly captivating slab of alternative and melodic rock bred from nineties grunge. At times it roars with brilliance and at other times merely boldly simmers whilst persistently grips ears and appetite, but from start to finish the album is a potential flooded and increasingly impressive encounter.
The album’s title track is the first persuasion on ears, the instrumental a slowly dawning piece with an immediate sonic portentousness and atmospheric shadow. It is a drama drenched offering, every riff and swiping chord heavy in effect and attitude matched by just as heftily swung rhythms. It is an imposing and slightly deceptive lead into the album where not until it’s fiery and energetically driven finale does the true flavour of the band’s sound break-through. Eventually a spicy scent of grunge makes its statement of intent increasing its hold further with the following Again & Again. From the start guitars expel flames of melodic enticing as rhythms crisply frame their endeavour. That alone makes a vibrant lure but with the throaty invention of a thick bassline and the sandy vocal tones of Dilly, the track becomes a fascinating roar with a forceful nod to Foo Fighters.
The More I Learn is next and digs into Nirvana essences for its certainly vocal and sonic expression. Riffs and beats again make a sinew driven bait whilst Costard’s bass holds a more gnarly voice this time, everything courting the imagination as potently as the subsequent slips into mellow melodies and emotive reflection. Cupping this invention though, the song is a constant turbulent tempest of passion and energy which whets the appetite perfectly for the outstanding How & Why which follows. From the first breath Carte hungrily swings his sticks to cast a web of anthemic rhythms which in turn seems to incite a similar contagion in riffs and hooks. There feels like a Josh Homme whisper is inspiring the passage of the song, every beat and chord offering a sonic and creative mischief which grips ears ease, whilst the sonic adventure of the song is certainly Queens of the Stone Age seeded. It only adds to making the mouth-watering encounter even tastier as it romps with an emotional snarl and energetic tenacity.
Both the heavy weight and emotional shadows of Can’t Wait and the raucous Go Ahead keep senses and emotions inescapably engrossed, the first of the two once more favouring the recognisable canvas of Nirvana for its own unique and evocative portrait of sound and passion. The track is another major peak in the album, every melancholic expulsion of angst and vocal intensity as dramatically alluring as the searing melodic hues colouring the song. Its successor is a predacious blaze of sonic causticity and tangy melodies ridden by a punk bred vocal raging. In this tempest though the band explore intriguing twists of varied styles and atmospheric flavours, an almost raw Muse like hue seeping into the evolving landscape of the song.
A breath is allowed as the emotively elegant and restrained Ask comes next, the song a pleasing embrace of the senses if lacking the spark to truly light the passions as its predecessors. It is still a magnetic slice of emotion fuelled balladry but soon forgotten as the excellent Out of the Rules prowls ears with a mischievous lilt to its opening tones. Once rhythms explode in an addictive rumble it is only a matter of time before the song erupts in another Foo Fighters brawl, not that they have created a song as invigorating and anthemic as this for a fair while. With a great flame of spicy keys, the track is pure passion driven rock ‘n’ roll infesting ears and feet.
Great tracks keep rolling through with firstly I Don’t Care lurking and lingering in thoughts and emotions with its bluesy swagger and sonic twang before the virulent contagion of From Words stomps with belligerent rhythms and scarring riffs around an anthem of Cobain seeded vocals. Punk and grunge in one ferocious explosion, the song is the pinnacle of the album with Costard wringing the best sound and presence out of his bass yet.
The bewitching rock pop of Today with its grunge snarl keeps senses and hunger aflame next before the album’s final offering Afaune leaves the listener with a slow burning but thoroughly intriguing and sweltering climate of imaginative individual and united enterprise. It is honed into a soundscape of voraciously woven and diverse styles and flavours for a climactic end to a fine album which rarely leaves expectations fed, even with its openly worn inspirations, and provides the real potential to a new level of acclaim and awareness of the band. Quandary may not be breaking down barriers with its triumphant presence but it is destined to light fires within a great many.
Quandary is available now @ http://inanutshell.bandcamp.com/
Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright
Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard from