the Hyènes - Verdure
Hyenas don’t eat verdure
« L'amour ça n'est jamais que du cul. » (“Love is nothing but sex.”) Well, that’s a sentence of a male!
Unless, upon reflection, after the provocation effect, it is a confession of weakness too, a reduction of human to animal. But not any animal. A hyena. Laughing, mocking, not nice at all. If they borrowed its cynicism, these guys from Bordeaux are on the other hand very friendly.
Yet I find it hard to subscribe to that sentence.
Unlike all the rest of the album! Unlike the music, first. Tried and true rock’n’roll. Part of what French rock does best. Hello Axel Bauer, Astonvilla, Daran... And obviously Noir Désir, since – their fans certainly know it already – drummer Denis Barthe works here, and you can recognize his both heavy and accurate playing.
With a very blues-rock 1st track, the good riff reminds me of many known good things. Would it be "When the Levees Break" from Led Zeppelin? "Jeanne" final from Gildas Arzel? Yes, and lots of others probably, and even closer:
She doesn’t care. Where ‘she’ means death. The piece was renamed "Hel S'En Fout" (“Hel doesn’t care”), Hel being the divinity of the dead and the underworld in the Scandinavian mythology, the booklet says.
The tone is set. Without being Goth nor mystical, the album will regularly come back to this exploration of the dark side, of the evil temptation within each of us ("Plus Dark que Vador", "Tu Peux Dormir Tranquille").
Musically, you’ll remark the strategy of progressive piling up: an instrument comes in every 4 phrases in "Bègles". A single which comes with a video where the (anti)hero is none other than Philippe Poutou, the former presidential candidate!
You’ll find electric guitar solos which do the job cleanly, but maybe insufficiently focused in the final mix.
An (only) track could be charged with FM rock 80’s commercial music, even pushing the depravity to the point of a sax solo ("Efface").
Or a bit earlier in time ("Fucking Mondays", out off their 1st album): a saturated track in English (the only one) which brings back the Strokes, the Struts, the Stranglers, the Strypes or the Str...whatever.
The lyrics are good, all from singer Vincent Bosler’s hand. Often political ("Ici-Bas"), green tendency ("Verdure"), or Édouard Balladur for the joke ("Efface"), or relating a boring everyday life ("Ça S'Arrête Jamais", "Va mourir à Bègles", as the Bobo’s from Bordeaux say), or else rejecting both fascists and antifascists ("Johnny Vs Johnny").
If you’re fed up with so devious lyrics that you understand nothing in the end (which is my case), if you’re fed up with so insipid lyrics that they tell strictly nothing (which is my case), then you should enjoy this Verdure.
The 4 rascals, gathered 14 years ago thanks to an OST for Albert Dupontel – and they chose this band’s name to thank him back –, already have a filled odometer. You can hear it well in this 3rd album, to which you can’t reproach youthful errors, and in big progress compared to the 1st one. All the tricks of good rock are there, and you can be sure it will go on because, like in the videogame, "Ça S'Arrête Jamais" (“it never stops”).
And rock is nothing but... Uh, what am I saying?
The scale rising and the spinning guitar in the longest track, "Tu Peux Dormir Tranquille" (5:02), make a bravura final worthy of a live version!
On the other hand, there may be around thirty seconds too many at the end of "Hel S'En Fout", of "Ici-Bas" or of "Plus Dark que Vador" (this one seems to struggle to know how to end).
But, at a time when lots of artists release albums of 10 tracks max in 30 minutes wringing wet, and when the very album format seems to be losing momentum, you won’t complain to be able to get your teeth into a real LP of 12 song counting an average of 4 minutes per track.
Ça S'Arrête Jamais
Hel S'En Fout
“Same old shit, same old blues” ("Samo")
Created10 November 2020