French duo Chevreuil are about as unstereotypically French as a musical act can get. Using only atonal guitar riffs and mushroom cloud drums, they bludgeon their way through varying levels of experimentalism and coherence. “Montacute,” for example, cycles through layers of guitar solo dissonance before a commanding beat takes over and dictates a concrete riff accompaniment. This conflict between guitar and drums and, to an even larger extent, between focus and freedom is what makes Sport so engaging and satisfying. It’s easy to credit Julian F’s drumming as being the true star of this album –his spotlight on “College” goes some distance to confirming him as John Bonham’s heir apparent– but it’s Tony C’s guitar that largely commands the course of the struggle. Against a consistant wall of drums, he either winds his way around through ellipitical solos or rages with a heavy metal thunder. While it’s not the type of hard rock that lends itself to air guitar, it’s remarkably more intense than what passes for metal these days. Fans of avant-garde music need look no further than this for a strong album-of-the-year contender.
Sickroom Records: www.sickroomrecords.com