Year of No Light

Here’s solid re-release of this French shoegazer/post rock act’s debut album (originally released on Radar Swarm Records in 2006 and also as a 2LP Gatefold album by Atropine Records/E-Vinyl Record for you collectors out there), and while not on par with fellow Frenchmen Overmars, Nord is a sound addition to slightly more aggressive likes of Buried Inside, Burst, Envy, Rwake as well as country mates Comity (whatever happened to them?) and others.

While the formula of shimmering post rock hues and atonal metallic discordance is hardly anything new, YONL do it rather well within the framework of the template. Right out of the gate, the warm shimmer of opener “Sélénite” collides with urgent dissonance of “L’angoisse du Veilleur de Nuit D’autoroute les Soirs d’Alarme à Accident” and thusly the dichotomy of these two moods plays out for the rest of the album in a slightly predictable, if enjoyable routine. Vocalist /keyboardist Julien Perez has a more extreme delivery with gives hypnotic Pelican/Rosetta-ish tracks like “Traversée” a bit more bite but are a bit less convincing when the band tries to be edgier and harsher (“Tu as Fait de Moi un Homme Meilleur”).

Of course, there’s atmospherics and interludes abound (“Librium”, “Prosodia”) amid the lengthy multi layered density of tracks like “Les Mains de L’empereur” and “La Bouche de Vitus Bering” which cover all the genres traits satisfactorily with ample pained beauty and introspective girth, if with little originality.

At times, Nord is a typically moving and elegantly harsh album, but it just can’t seem to move from the shadows of its obvious peers, though it has lots of promise. Still, though for fans of the genre, Nord is definitely worth looking into.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
July 25th, 2007


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