Les Discrets - Ariettes Oubliees…
This release is something that I’ve really been looking forward to. I first discovered France’s Les Discrets in 2010 through one of those Terrorizer covermount CDs (the only reason anyone still buys that happy faggot publication). It was the song “L’echappee” and it completely floored me. Not long after, I bought the album (Septembre et Ses Dernieres Pensees) and was pleased with it as a whole, although no track was able to top the beautifully mesmerizing “hit.” The mastermind behind this group is Fursy Teyssier, ex-member of Alcest and Amesoeurs. I figured I should point that out first before I mention that Les Discrets really really sound A LOT like Alcest. I’m talking nearly identical here, but feel free to check my Alcest review history and you’ll find I’m certainly not complaining. Neige is the better singer/songwriter, I think most would agree, but Fursy is not far behind. So with much anticipation and high hopes, I’ve been spinning Ariettes… non-stop, and… well… it’s just not that great of an album. I thought perhaps I just needed more time with it to let everything sink in, but a track-by-track analysis reveals that this is no hallucination on my part. They’ve simply phoned most of this one in. It begins with an intro, a very “let’s-get-on-with-it” intro. This leads into “La Traversee,” which is a phenomenal song. By far this album’s “L’echappee.” The band’s soothing-but-saddening Shoegaze melodies, Fursy’s graceful Neige-like vocals, and a masterfully morose rhythm to the chorus that brings to mind the legendary Katatonia, circa Discouraged Ones. But unfortunately that’s it. The next track, “Le Mouvement Perpetuel,” isn’t bad, but has a repetitive, jangly melody that afflicts my imagination with visions of slow motion Country line dancing, therefore making it humorously unbearable. The title track and “Apres l’ Ombre” are acoustic pieces that feel like mere segues. Very pretty, but once again testing my patience. Where’s the beef? “La Nuit Muette” and “Au Creux de l’Hiver” are back-to-back fairly decent songs, but I just don’t hear any pain and the former suffers from a tediously dull ending. All we are left with now is “Les Regrets,” which is… you guessed it, an outro. A very “that-can’t-be-the-whole-album” outro. So there you have it. Only one good song. You might think an 8 is a little high for an album with only one good song, but it speaks to the masterpiece potential I know this trio have within them. Also, it’s not like anything about this album is terrible, just a somewhat uneventful letdown with only one true highlight. At this pace, the Les Discrets Greatest Hits package won’t see the light of day for a few decades. And it may be an EP.
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