Review Summary: Le disconcerting.
Give Fursy Teyssier credit: he’s gotten listeners to universally scratch their heads with just a handful of releases. Septembre et Ses Dernières Pensées
drew much interest and acclaim thanks to a compelling mix of post rock and shoegaze while its successor, Ariettes Oubliées
..., brought a sense of disconnect that, though not without some resonance, left a number of listeners feeling more than a little empty. Now, with the newly released Prédateurs
, Fursy has dialed back on the lingering warmth and overarching serenity to the point that his music is left to wallow in a cold, desolate soundscape with only the most fleeting moments of captivation sprinkled throughout.
To be fair, both of the previous Les Discrets albums were composed in a somber manner, with Ariettes Oubliées
... being the more solemn of the two. Furthermore, the decision to strip the music down is clearly deliberate, so a “cold shoulder” sensation is right in line with what Fursy was likely trying to accomplish. Yet there are two fundamental problems with this approach: First, just because a choice in direction is intentional doesn’t automatically make it a sound choice. Second, the execution of said direction needs to feel owned and justified, neither of which can be used to describe Prédateurs
. The core issue at hand isn’t that it’s a cold album, but rather how it goes about achieving such a sensation. Fursy has taken the idea of minimalism and run with it in a way that leaves his music feeling utterly impartial. Any band (particularly post rock) can tumble into this maze of a wasteland and be left wandering about aimlessly. This is what Les Discrets sound like on Prédateurs
: a band stuck in a black-and-white landscape with the only hints of strength being the hues they’ve effectively toned out.
When the instrumental gaze elements echo about the empty soundscape, it only instills the sense of a vacuous atmosphere. Of no aide to this is the album’s bizarre inclination towards electronic elements, often to the point that they smear what few moments of intrigue there are. Yet even the less hindered moments fail to ultimately achieve anything of worth, such as the frustratingly stagnant “Rue Octavio Mey” and “Les Amis de Minuit.” Whether Prédateurs
decides to be a little oddball or wallow in a murky rut, it ends up on the vexing end of the spectrum all the same. And that is what’s most disconcerting about this latest release from a once-promising project.