Reviews

V/A Thesaurus, Vol. 5 2xLP

The fifth installment in the Thesaurus series, which presents a cross-section of what was happening in punk/punk-adjacent spheres in France from ’78–’86. Focusing on punk, post-punk, garage, and coldwave, the material ranges from bands like RAVACHOL and ACTEURS who play dark, synth-heavy punk in true Killed By Deathrock fashion, to COCKPIT, who sound like the FEELIES collaborating with the NORMAL, to SURPRISE’s manic No Wave noise with spiky guitars and elephant-like sax interludes. Still others, like STRIDEUR, fall somewhere between JACQUES DUTRONC and the CRAMPS with keyboards. There are 25 songs on this double album, and though there is variety, there are some throughlines. A lot of the songs are pretty synth-heavy. There are loads of strange guitar sounds and other cool noise shit that could be filed under “experimental.” Not much straight up ’77 punk, but that’s not really what the French are known for anyway. Comps like this can be a gamble, but I would recommend this one (if you are able to snag an affordable copy)—it’s a period piece with a lot to say, and a chance to get familiar with some of France’s more obscure artists.