Thing of the Day

PAPAYE vs TORMENTA, Abbie Brandon's BEN EINE documentary and ROA in New York

January 27th 2011

Oh come on, that's not fair, is it? But it is tempting to put these two bands up against each other.  One good record label, two bands, two albums released on the same day.  They're both French, they both make instrumental rock with, shall we say, a non-conformist attitude to rhythm.  Don't worry - I'm not shoving them into one mathy box - they're two different bands...

Papaye la chaleur coverPAPAYE - La Chaleur (Africantape) 
Papaye have a cheery, rough-jangly guitar sound, and a great line in riffage. I may be completely wrong, but they don't sound like they're huddled over their instruments - they sound like they're running around having a good time with their ever-changing ideas.  

At times they're very reminiscent of fine Leeds instrumentalists You Slut! (note to bands choosing names: if you don't want 20,000 dodgy non-music friends on your Facebook site, don't call yourself You Slut!). The aforementioned Sluts had a similar chunky riffage-based approach to being a changeable bendy rock band, and nobody stroked their chin at their gigs.  Papaye have that clarity, but less metal - they have a breezy, open vibe that tempers their complexity. They got tunes.

La Chaleur is 12 tracks of winding, twisting instrumentals, each one searching for new contrasts and twists of riffage.  They're a three-piece, and to me it sounds like one kit,and  two guitars exchanging top and bottom duties as they go.  The final track, Mégaplus, is like a string of great bits of melody that drive you crazy trying to remember what they remind you of. Fémur de Femme and opener Gym Tonus have (probably accidental) very early Cardiacs moments, and the whole is studded with little gobbets of Don Caballero and the brisk sweet guitar of Deerhoof.  Perhaps remarkably, Papaye is supposed to be a side project: the three band members have roles in Room204, Pneu and Kommandant Cobra.  Here's hoping La Chaleur isn't a one-off. 

Tormenta La Ligne coverTORMENTA - La Ligne (Africantape) 
From the outset, TORMENTA are waaaay more metal than Papaye. They've landed in an interesting nether-world between the almost fashionable, oh-so-slightly ironic avant-rock of Orthrelm and the F*cking Champs and Behold... the Arctopus, and the potential wastelands of progressive metal. The latter has a nasty tendancy these days to get ruined by people too interested in diddling their instruments to be musicians, so it's good to report that Tormenta have feel and mood and the right creative attitude. In that respect, they have as much in common with early 65Daysofstatic as Dysrhythmia, creating soft building passages that threaten to go euphoric.

Mostly, it's warm-sounding dark metal riffage, fast-moving odd-time driving passages, slightly sinister slightly dangerous.  There's a restraint and organic softness to the sound which goes some way to balancing the rather considered, precise composition. At least one of them was in mathy pioneers Cheval De Frise.  If you're into progressive metal, Tormenta will be a breath of fresh air from the outer limits, a shot of new blood that won't be too jarring or weirdass.

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MEANWHILE... three more good things for your consideration:

Good piece on Tim Smith and Cardiacs from Cathi Unsworth in 3am Magazine - read it here:  One of the best and most forward-thinking music writers throughout the 90s, Cathy has always been appreciative and supportive of Cardiacs, standing up to her rather boring peers in the estabishment music press. 

BEN EINE documentary: East London film maker ABBIE BRANDON has put up a really good looking well made five and a half minute documentary about artist BEN EINE. Looks like Abbie is making some interesting work; really well edited film, and nice use of music.

... and finally a nice bit of ROA at work in New York imagery, via Arrested Motion today (via a Black Rat gallery twitter, (don’t you just love the way these street art networks vibrate around the globe?)

Roa in New York

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