An amazing blast of energy tempered with a relentlessly creative streak, Le Coup Du Parapluie could well be your new favourite rock band. ‘Philosophie, bien-etre & crimes passionnels’ is simply an exceptional album which deserves to be heard the world over – Le coup… are a fantastic band.
Opening with ‘Bend and breakfast’, a seething cauldron of riffs, syncopated drumming, time changes and first-class guitar playing the band set out their stall as heirs to Refused’s much-coveted throne although theirs is a more melodic bent than that band. ‘La traverse du desert eagle’ is up next, a track that opens curiously before Regis’ progressive-sounding vocals bring the track into focus before the astounding bass playing and the drums drag the whole thing off kicking and screaming in another direction. Speaking of other directions – ‘the assassination of your beliefs’ skews the band’s canon still further by shifting into simmering art-rock territory with a simple, repetitive riff gently rippling over a muscular rhythm section and the characteristically complex drumming. Easily as moody and unnerving as anything Neurosis have put their name to, it’s a glorious, post-rock-esque exercise in tension and release while the vocals echo away in the mix suiting the music perfectly. It’s a brilliant track that serves to highlight what exceptional musicians Le coup… are, while at the same time avoiding any criticisms of showing off – it’s just a great, great rock track.
Winning the prize for most self-consciously ludicrous song title is ‘colonel Mustard with an AK47 in the library’ which carries with it a very mid-90s feel, reminding the listener of Sonic Youth, Fugazi and the Butthole Surfers (before they decided electro-pop was the way to go) with its lengthy instrumental passages and gently chiming guitars. More interesting is ‘le loup dans la bergerie’ which opens with unsettling, spacey sound effects before the bass of the gods takes over and shatters your straining ear drums with its menacing layers of distortion. A dark and harrowing instrumental, it’s one of the best things here, not least because it sounds like no-one else at all. It’s brilliantly evil and beautifully unconventional. This could also be applied to ‘La chasse a la baleine’ which may, or may not, be a ballad. Certainly it’s melodic, features soft vocals and a memorable melody, but it is also complex, arty and dazzling in its sheer blood brilliance. Once again reminiscent of Fugazi at the peak of their considerable powers, it’s an exercise in math-rock that few bands could match. Following a trip into ambient hell, ‘the setup’ comes roaring in without even a moment’s break, slamming the listener sideways with unexpected force. The riffs are taut and lean while the drumming thunders away with a power that is given all the more force thanks to the quiet passage preceding it. ‘Of the remaining tracks, ‘pourquoi dieu n’est-il pas Albert Jacquard’ is a challenging listen, rife with odd time signatures and sound effects creating a tense, exotic atmosphere. ‘90%Ir + 10%pt + 0,28mm3 ricine’ is even less accessible – a lurching, oddly-timed beast that lumbers through the speakers and given new life by a nimble lead guitar part that streaks over the main track like a spider. Strikingly unconventional, it’s another great track although it takes weeks to work out how the band got their heads round the jarring time signatures and odd riffs. The closing track, ‘Bulgarian umbrella’ is a heavy, but slightly more comfortable ride that draws everything to a satisfying conclusion.
Ultimately Le coup… are an incredible band who have created an album of ballsy, arty, math rock that simply heaps scorn upon people who find Dream Theater challenging. With gloriously unusual riffs, a frontman with a strong, interesting voice and an approach to song-writing that is unusual to say the least, Le coup… manage to pull off the unlikely trick of making such thoroughly un-commercial music memorable as well as complex. The natural successors to bands like Fugazi and Botch, Le Coup are a band that deserve to be revered by post-rock fans and punks alike thanks to an unbridled and energetic attack that separates them from the mighty Sonic Youth and puts them squarely in the heavy music category. An intelligent, well written and endlessly intriguing album, ‘Philosophie, bien-etre and crimes passionnels’ is strongly recommended to anyone who still mourns the demise of Refused and their ilk. Genuinely underground and genuinely thrilling, this is as vital as music gets.