Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Debile Menthol - 1984 - Battre Campagne

Debile Menthol 
Battre Campagne

01. Bim-Bam (3:19)
02. Bout de mou (1:45)
03. A quoi pensent-ils? (5:16)
04. Avalanche (5:24)
05. Mieux vaud d'Ecker (3:07)
06. A chacun son accent (4:08)
07. Caduta Massie (3:48)
08. Battre Campagne (7:36)
09. Cul de Sac (3:37)

- Christian G. Addor / keyboards, vocals
- Yvan G. Chkolnix / scratches and screams
- Jean-Vincent Huguenin / petites cordes, grattées soufflées et gros ressorts
- Gilles Vincent Rieder / drums, vocals
- Jeab-Maurice Rossel / guitars, vocals
- Marie C. Schwab / violin, vocals cords
- Cedric P. Vuille / air, cords and noises

Guest musicians:
- Bruno Meillier / saxophone (1)
- Pierre Kaufmann / bass clarinet (9)

Right from the opening moments of this album, we know we are in for quite a ride. Bim-Bam is about as condensed as energy gets, and, as I pointed out earlier, it is combined with great ideas, resulting in an amazing opening song that truly sets the tone for the album (and what a tone it is). The vocals that come on top are as frantic as if not more frantic than the music. Their vocalist, like with Topi Lehtipuu of Hoyry Kone and especially Damo Suzuki of CAN, has the ability to make the music itself make more sense. Sure, he sings in French, but language should not matter when it comes to music (and I happen to like the sound of French, though there really aren't any languages I don't like). The rest of the album is in a generally similar vein as Bim-Bam, but without sounding repetitive. For example, the song A Quoi Pensent-Ils (what are they thinking?) is generally subdued (on the surface), relying more on subtle bass work railether than pounding drums, but it is equally as strange and effective as Bim-Bam. Avalanche takes a new direction altogether, focusing more on combining avant-garde ideals with great melody, similar in nature but not in sound to Frank Zappa's work.

What all of this results in is an album where we are presented with a diverse selection of music sure to give everyone something to enjoy (and, for RIO/avant fans like me, a whole lot to enjoy). They have managed to successfully create a unique sound, one that is enchanting and enticing, always engaging, never boring, and quite rewarding. If you like adventurous music, and don't mind if, at times, it seems strange and "out there," this is the perfect album for you. It probably won't ever be regarded as a defining RIO/avant prog album, but it certainly deserves to be in every prog collection. A very fun album, and highly recommended.

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