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Album Of The Month July 2007
Alcest | ‘Souvenirs D’un Autre Monde’

Having known little about Neige’s one-man project Alcest, a swift trawl of the internets came replete with some awful analogies akin to “being caught in a torrential, but uplifting, downpour”.

Few could compete with such Proustian navel-gazing, and failing anything better or more intelligent, I’m forced to agree.

This is such a lovely, soggy album that it bears more than a passing resemblance to an adorably small animal sodden by one of those aforementioned April showers of folksy-post-rock-BM that Agalloch have lately disappeared into.

Every aspect of “Souvenirs d’un Autre Monde” really is notably wet: the artwork, guitars, drumming, the airy harmonised vocals – they’re all saturated by the kind of limp-wristed ho-hummery that appears on bad Smiths albums and many a Pixies track.

If you can overcome all this (and the unnecessarily loud production) though, each of the first 5 songs offer moments of unadulterated glory and simple, blissful brilliance; even if the sixth-track bookend “Tir Nan Og” (sic) is garbage.

There’s no force whatsoever to the album but therein lies its strength, as the fragility and unashamed weakness of the songs provides a kind of cripple charm: a songsmith’s Tiny Tim, if you will.

The title track, with it’s Buckley rhythms and softened “Bergtatt” worship, and the frankly brilliant “Les Iris”, hint that “Souvenirs d’un Autre Monde” could deservedly become revered in its own whimsical way.

4 / 5 – Kevin Tracey ::: 11/07/07

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