France is increasingly known as a breeding grounds for avant-garde and otherwise forward-thinking music. Maybe there’s something in the culture of the country that maintains the revolutionary spirit of their ancestors alive. Surely, every French is used to the numerous and almost ubiquitous manifestations and protests, sometimes devolving into riots, that are part of the French way of life. This underlying sentiment transcends the borders of the political sphere and seeps into every aspect of life. It’s not so surprising, then, that France is now well-known for brooding a wealth of revolutionary-minded music acts. Just off the top of our heads, Deathspell Omega made black metal advance into a new era with their dissonant and atmospheric plague, Pryapisme‘s merry arrogance welds chiptune and metal into an incredible new alloy, ni and PoiL are two schizophrenic math rock formations that also join forces under the PinioL flag, and Mombu collaborated with Mosca Violenta to create an uncannily heavy, sax-driven sludge metal album.
Today, we’ll be tackling öOoOoOoOoOo‘s upcoming album, Samen, which will come out on October 21st through Apathia Records. Their lineup is made of Aurélie Raidron (Asphodel), who was formerly singer of avant-garde band Pin-Up Went Down, Aymeric Thomas as a session drummer, from the aforementioned band Pryapisme, and Baptiste Bertrand, who is the composer for this project. Samen also includes a few guest musicians for select tracks. At the moment of writing this, two songs are available to the public: ‘No Guts = No Masters’ and ‘Chairleg Thesis’. The former is a chiptune meets metal track with many avant-garde detours and kazoo support and chipmunkesque back vocals, while the latter is just a tad less experimental, starting with funk and going through trance music, blast beats, and stoner metal riffs.
The ten other tracks on record are definitely not B-sides either. They all shine in their own way, but the majority of the tracks seems to focus on the soft/heavy dichotomy, often abruptly moving from a funky operatic movement to a post-hardcore section to a multi-layered vocal counterpoint with synthesizers to a toothbrush being used as an instrument. Asphodel’s voice is malleable and diverse and often goes down into the harsher side of singing, when the song calls for it. From the lows of “Bark City (A Glimpse of Something)” to the highs in “I Hope You Sleep Well”, her vocal range is quite impressive, too! She really is the front-woman the band needed, and you’ll have a great time following her through ever-changing narratives.
öOoOoOoOoOo’s upcoming album is even better than anyone could have expected, which is no small feat! At over 45 minutes, it serves a good deal of entertainment and leaves you satisfied with the course. The twelve songs are quite diverse, interesting, and viscerally enjoyable. If you’re already a fan of whacky rock and metal artists like Mr. Bungle and Diablo Swing Orchestra, Samen is an album you will have to add to your collection. If not, we’re confident you’ll fall under its charm instantly.
Samen releases on October 21st on Apathia Records. You can pre-order it via the label’s Bandcamp, right here.