Wednesday, August 11


The trick here: conjure up a cloud of psychedelic shoegazing guitar, and then nail it down with a precise and angular post-punk rhythm section. The towering, omnipresent guitar envelopes the mix throughout Masculin/Féminin, creating a strange and intriguing tension with the sharp, concrete bass and drum parts - guitar as female, bass and guitar as male? If any band is likely to pick such a conceptual title for a release, it's these three ostensibly cerebral young men.

In any case, this musical sleight-of-hand is pulled off here with style. Demontré have learned on this release how to channel their shimmering/solid sound effectively: they've stopped trying to write pop hooks and focussed on atmosphere. (It's no accident that previous single 'Brandenburg' is both the most melodic track here and the weakest, especially when the floating, numinous guitar dives right in to dance rigidly with the bass.) Vocal melodies float tantalisingly through Jonathan Mead's pedalboard ether without surrendering their secrets. Ambient samples weave in and out to fill the spaces between tracks. There's movement, there's rhythm - sometimes you can dance - but you won't find any instant pop gratification here. That's good.

What you will find instead is a seven-track helping of eerie death-disco beats, distant swirling vocals, and swooning six-string cartwheels. Standout track 'Lorenheim' is a grunge ballad lost in the fog, Smashing Pumpkins filtered through Slowdive, while 'Wholly Communion' brews up a sluggish psychedelic storm, gliding into the ear and insinuating itself into the cortex. The atmosphere and the tension builds and then slackens, from the catapulting segue of 'Vale of Health' to the low-key, piano-led, somewhat dubiously titled 'The Lion King'. With any luck you'll leave satisfied, because Demontré appear finally to have fulfilled their potential. What's next?

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