Thursday, 14 June 2012

The 2kDozen 500: #216 - The Young Gods, "L'Eau Rouge/Red Water"

In 1989 I began reading Melody Maker (and to a lesser extent, NME) and in the Best of 1989 section this doomladen band of Swiss industrialists bobbed up time and again. I thought to myself in my 17-year-old tones, I must hear this band; they sound interesting. Twenty-three short years later and hear we are...

In all honestly, I've probably heard tracks here and there. David Lynch has used more than one tune here or there, especially in his Lost Highway/Mulholland Drive period. But here is my first effort to harness the possibility the world of the Interweb has presented to me to bring about the Young Gods's "L'Eau Rouge".

The first track isn't quite what I was expecting. It starts with a soft, classical loop of woodwind, subtle brass while a ragged-throated man sings in a cabaret style with what I take to be a Swiss French accent. About half way through, the strings become ravenous birds fluttering around with Hitchcockian intent. The vocals are a bit too theatrical to warm to immediately. (Why should I expect I'd be warming to them? Jeez! What kind of fuzzy-minded cockbarrel am I exactly?) Maybe it's the Verfremdungseffekte? (I knew that A-Level German would work out one day...)

"Rue de Tempetes" is more what I'd been imagining, guitars amplified and distorted to a divine and apocalyptic scale. It sounds so big and clean. The title track features more razor-gargling French. I'm reminded a bit of The Residents show I saw in 2010. The 2010 that I thought was last year, but has been carried away much further by the tide than I would like to admit. Scary noises that seem to be recorded so close (especially by today's dream pop/chill wave standards) that I fear for my personal safety.

"Charlotte" is on an altogether narrower scale: cabaret-sized but with a town square feel of boules and pipe organs. This cabaret angle is interesting, as it runs against the grain of the industrial rock developments from Nine Inch Nails and Ministry and the like. A European direction, which must have been influential at the time as well. Were I able to manipulate the ideas better, I'd look into the way that tension is used in "Longue Route" as opposed to "Head Like A Hole". It's less based on the Blues again, I guess.

Was music a bit more grown up in the Eighties? I mean, the alternative to the pop stars and poodle metal acts. This sounds so tough and adult in a way that makes everything I can think of nowadays sound so whistful and adolescent. "Les Enfants" has shudders of music rearing up from sample banks, sounding huge. Everything I think of is about scale; but perhaps that how I'd imagined them all those years ago. Giants. "L'Amourir" has the metronomic drum machine and bass pulse I'd expect to lead armies out to undreamt continents in conquest. Bad armies in big, bad machines.

Well, that was twenty-three years well spent.

Rating: Big Bad Machines out of Not Blues

No comments: