Record of the Week: TAULARD Les Abords du Lycée LP
After my recent fascination with ’80s French Oi! and coldwave, here comes something equally interesting, one to add to my list of grande musique de France: keyboard-, drum- and bass-driven synthpunk right out of current day Grenoble! I love everything about this release: the mixed bag of influences (punk, post-punk, electro, hip hop, Renaissance music!) the subtle cinematic orchestration, the layout of the inner sleeve and silk screened Miró-esque cover. The almost church organ-like keyboard tunes steal the show, sounding like they’re coming from some busted up old ’60s synth, wafting and weaving through the tight, minimal yet animated drumming (kick, floor tom, snare and hi-hat), the soulful rhythms of the bass (that fullness of jazz, that spike of punk, that slight funk edge) and the attitude-filled vocals (with that poeticism that the French language inherently possesses). The backing vocal harmonies leave a ’60s psych garage aftertaste, but the keyboard and vocals really manage to set a multitude of tones and moods to real-life settings (suffocation, depression, drunken mirth, traveling, crushes, loss, sexual mistakes). There is a sense of humour (even mockery) to the performance, and the A-side almost sounds as if a bunch of punks got together in a brick basement (upon Roman ruins for all I know) to write a soundtrack to the urban comedy/drama they call life. Don’t let that playful attitude fool you though; the darker B-side ends the show on a morose tone, where disappointment and disillusion abound; a bad trip confession set to music. Bitter yet sweet, magical yet haunted, vintage yet moderne. Fucking brilliant! Get it!