Sick Room

It’s been a running joke for who knows how long that while the French lead the way in many forms of culture, they can’t make decent rock music to save their lives. Chevreuil’s Chateauvallon should finally bury that notion. The album is a low-end lover’s dream; huge Albini-recorded drums and a guitar webbed through multiple amps, processors and filters. The duo manages to create a denser framework with these two instruments than groups like Escapade do with full force ensembles. As with most of the noisier, experimental guitar and drums outfits, the drummer, Julian F, is in the pilot’s chair, guiding Tony C through minimalist noise, brutal post-hardcore and beautiful post-rock. When the band builds up a head of steam, they feel nearly elemental, like a layered maelstrom of out-of-sync guitar lines undercutting each other for dominance while being bludgeoned by percussion. In light of this, what is a listener supposed to make of the foggy ambience of the drumless closer “Rauturo?” That Julian F gave up the ghost after so many thunderous performances? Regardless of it being a fitting hymn, it’s an appropriate thumbing of the nose at all the naysayers, suggesting that not only can they rock better than many American noise bands, but that they’re skilled in Francophone atmospherics as well.

Sick Room:

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