Review Summary: Daitro trim the fat, add some hooks, and prove why they're still one of the best acts around in the European hardcore scene.
Of the things noticeably awesome on Y
(and make no mistake, there are quite a lot of them), the most immediate one has to be how simple it sounds; how condensed, how straightforward, how… catchy
. It’s still Daitro- those crashing tidal waves of guitars and French screams that just sound oh, so cool are still there- and yet it’s essentially a shift in direction that demystifies the band. Unlike Laisser Vivre Les Squelettes
doesn’t sound like every detail is of the utmost importance or like every tune needs to bleed exhaustion and melodrama. It doesn’t try to be classic or ask to be taken for anything more than what it really is- that is, a kick-ass collection of songs.
This shift isn’t exactly radical or revolutionary, but the effects, subtle though they may be, are devastatingly powerful. For example, a heavily increased reliance on melodic vocal interplay makes Y
a much more social record than Daitro fans are accustomed to; whereas most of Daitro’s material lends itself to late-night headphone listens to induce personal catharsis, Y
is an album begging to be shouted along to with friends (or at least have some choreographed fist pumping, if vous parlez un peu francais). There are a surprising amounts of hooks
here, as though Daitro, sick of making “thoughtful hardcore,” are presenting an album desperate to hold attention while introducing listeners to the basic components of their sound.
By that same token, there’s a certain amount of concision in Y
that maintains that accessibility while also keeping the album grounded. Gone are the wandering passages that may have put off the less passionate Daitro listener; instead, ideas are kept in neat little packages, with songs that move in definite directions. All the elements of Daitro are still there- for example, a song like “Part II” can open with distinct, chaotic discord and devolve into post rock haze while being played out in a slick 4:45- but just in a refined aesthetic. Only one song strays beyond five minutes in length, and all of them are immediate in their attack. Songs either present a central idea like a drumbeat or a guitar line and then explode into intense pummeling or forgo the intro altogether and announce itself with the vocalist in full on chaos. The style is not so unlike what Daitro employed on tracks like Laisser Vivre
’s “Chaque Seconde,” and the immediateness is a welcome change of pace from a band (and a scene, for that matter) content on taking it’s time to envelop its audience in minimalist riffs before igniting punishing climaxes.
That ultimately is why Y
is such a wily career move for Daitro. It’s clearly not trying to be their career defining opus or anything. With its choruses, chants, riffs and in-your-face drumming, it just seems more fun
(or at least as much fun as you can imagine a band like Daitro being) than anything they’ve done before. It’s much easier to take than Laisser Vivre
or their half of the split with Sed Non Satiata, and though fans will bemoan the lack of “challenging” passages, it doesn’t make Y
worth any less than those terrific releases. It just puts the band in a different light, a light where they don’t have to be as epic. Y
is a tame affair, something that will surely garner plenty of praise and new fans, even if (or, perhaps, because
) it isn’t as dense as what they’ve put out in the past. It’s straightforward, well-executed hardcore, and from a band that seemingly can do no wrong, what more could you possibly ask for?