Amesoeurs – S/T

15Mar09

AmesoeursThe most brief of looks at Amesoeurs’ Myspace page will scream of sheer pretention – moody black and white photography accompanies such quotes as “A kaleidoscopic soundtrack for the modern era” . Clearly, this French quartet have an image – and hype too, arriving on a wave of internet buzz. But does this blend of metal, shoegaze and post rock meet expectations?

Sadly, although somewhat unsurprisingly, the answer is no. The result is the sound of a band which takes themselves far too seriously, falling somewhere between those three genres but never quite reaching the qualities of any of them.

It’s clear that there’s a lot of hard work which has been poured into this album. Each note feels precise and measured, and the production work is marvellous. But the material put to record is, to use a very incisive term, completely mediocre. First of all, we are introduced to the post rock side of the band – opener Gas In Veins arrives with stark, eerie ambience, and over the course of six minutes seems to work to fulfil every post-rock cliche going – it builds and builds, has lots of droning guitars, and it goes quiet in the middle before a big crescendo. I wouldn’t be particularly surprised if they were moments away from adding Godspeed-esque vocal samples…oh, wait, it sort of has those too. Nevermind.

The ‘shoegaze’ portions of the album don’t fare much better. I say ‘shoegaze’ in a very liberal sense – the songs lack many of the nuances of the genre. There’s no real walls of noise, no aggression in the musicianship. The vocals are of an echoey, ethereal nature, but they’re weak at best. Les Ruches Malades is generic, power-chorded rock, while Faux Semblants and the self-titled track sound worryingly similar, echoey plucked guitars over what’s pretty much the same beat. These songs are all remarkably unremarkable. Like someone took an All American Rejects album, got a girl singing French over the top and slapped delay on all the guitars.

And the brief forays into METAL territory proves the least fruitful. Trouble is basically just a Slayer song in French with about half the aggression. For a metal song the guitars sound pretty similar to the rest of the album, just played a bit faster. Then it just becomes one more of those shoegazey songs again. Not much to see here.

All in all, this is an album that some people may well enjoy, but not anyone who puts particularly high stock in the genres that Amesoeurs have been placed in. There’s nothing that matches any of the heights of Reign In Blood, or Loveless. For a band dredging in cliche, it seems fitting that they would agree to break upon this debut’s release – though with such a forgettable set of songs, it’s an end that few people will be particularly bothered about.

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