With their Basic Mistakes EP our introduction to the band, French band Ophite from out of the blue sneaked up and dared ears and imagination to party with its individual revelry. It was an invitation impossible to refuse as six multi-flavoured and devilishly captivating tracks provided easily one of the most enjoyable and irresistible romps this year so far.
Formed in 2012, the Paris quartet consists of vocalist Marie Portier, guitarist Yoann Dolmare, bassist Nicolas Guenard, and drummer Kevin Jr. Musically the band conjures up tracks which blossom on essences of grunge, blues, groove, and pop but equally offer numerous other spices and textures to fascinate and entice. Anticipation for Basic Mistakes had already been sparked by the release of the video for the track Phoenician Sailors, but the EP whilst fulfilling all the promise found in that one song, reveals an even greater tapestry of invention and adventure to the band’s sound.
The title track opens up the devilment of sound and persuasion, a thick bold bassline with a suitable swagger the first line of alluring bait instantly accompanied by a percussive enticing. The potent coaxing is just as quickly joined by bluesy strands of guitar and similarly sultry riffs, as well as the immediately magnetic tones of Portier. Her voice as the bass line, has a swing to its delivery which is emulated in the fuzz lined sonic enterprise of guitar, a tempting which has ears quickly onside whilst the funky, Red Chili Peppers like stroll of the song has feet and body enthralled.
The track is a vibrant and hazily captivating start quickly backed and surpassed by the fiery stomp of Catacombs Of Happiness. Hooks and sonic tempting opens up the quick step of throbbing bass rhythms and crisp beats, it all ignited further by the lively and impressive vocals. Virulent rock pop with a grunge spawned edge and punk mischief, the track balances pure melodic catchiness with unpredictable agitation, rhythmically and sonically resulting in a glorious and addictive incitement.
The diversity of Basic Mistakes is as striking and compelling as the sounds themselves, the following Somebody Take Me Surfing combining surf rock and punk pop with a more sobering post punk saunter. As guitars expel sultry caresses of melodic twang and the bass casts a darkly seductive tempting, the song is a bewitching croon, especially as harmonies from Portier flirt with celestial elegance. Her more down to earth lead delivery makes a great temper to the exotic climate of the song and bridge from that to the stormier chorus. All the time there is creative devilry at work though, lurking in the lining of the song rather than playing openly like in its predecessors, which adds a mischievous and expectations defeating invention to the song.
The One In My Head re-embraces the flames of blues rock next, guitars blazing within the controlled walls of the encounter though rhythms and at times vocals do have moments of losing their composure to great effect whilst its successor My Pretty Columbine is a riveting acoustic croon of voice and guitar with additional creative tinkering. Both tracks offer something different to the release, new food for thought in songwriting, and yet more of the impressive musical imagination of the band.
The EP closes with Phoenician Sailors, which on the CD version comes in the form of the video clip earlier mentioned. Reggae seeded guitar taunts open up the inviting swing of the song, a pulsating bass line soon showing the same kind of inspiration as Portier spreads her expressive tones over the inescapable lure feeding ears. Like a sea with increasingly turbulent waves, musically the song evolves from a gentle wave to a rocky and feisty protagonist, bringing an outstanding release to a climactic and hypnotic close.
It is probably fair to say that Ophite is an undiscovered treat for most right now but take our word for it deserving of investigation because of Basic Mistakes alone. It is potently accessible and at times offers a familiar if indefinable temptation, but they are just two pleasing aspects which converge with imagination, craft, and a creative rebellion to create one highly exciting encounter.
The Basic Mistakes EP is available now
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