HEY! Get updates to this and the CD and 7" blogs via Twitter: @VinylUnderbite

14 December 2010

Cheveu (Born Bad)

There's strangely pixelated Apple ][ album art, strangely pixellated guitars and drum programming, yet there's nothing digital about this record. Instead we're bathed in analogue ambience, a hiss to envelop us into this soundworld. Cheveu was my favourite album of 2008, which explains why I've been collecting their singles (found on the Ebullient Ventilation page). You can divide most of Cheveu's songs into two categories - furious, frantic verbal diarrhea overtop a relentless guitar/drum attack, or a groove-based, fun jam based around an infectious and vaguely familiar guitar lick. A few of the standouts, like 'Superhero' combine the two forms. 'Jacob's Fight', side 1 track 1, should be all you need to hear to decide if Cheveu is gonna be your bag. 'Clara Venus', the one song recorded in a real studio, sounds no more hi-fi but perhaps a bit more passionate, as the band blasts out around some of Rimbaud's fine words. 'Happiness' also uses a borrowed text, this time from the Todd Solondz film of the same name, and the creepy, perverse language is cast in a goofball aesthetic, but a damn fine one. 'Lola Langusta' opens up side B with a rehash of the version found on one of the singles, but adorned with some trumpets to make it a DJ favourite. Is it thinking man's punk rock, or a punk rocker's dance music, or does it even matter? When I listen I'm filled with images of dirty Paris basements, illegal squats, and what I imagine is a theatrical live show. And I want to jack into an old 4-track and start bashing out my own tunes. This is music of frustration but not without careful attention to detail. 'Hot' has some nicely bending guitar notes as it fades into a rut, and throughout this I'm impressed by textures, textures, textures! Cheveu know how to make a guitar sound great, and they are often layering them and changing the textures on song breaks to liven up what could otherwise sound monotonous. The record jams out on the long 'Unemployment Blues', clearly a live, improvised recording that recalls Alternative TV's 'Alternatives'. A tribute or homage, maybe? It's the most psychedelic, though the delay-pedal vocal manipulations and whirring feedback loops are aggressively amateur, and the rhythm section holds things steady. Though youth oozes from every note of this record, there's a definite awareness of musical precedents, most notably fellow Frenchmen Metal Urbain. I like intense visions to be fun too, and this pulls it off with flying colours. Seek it out!

No comments:

Post a Comment