19 November 2016

Classe Mannequin - Classe Mannequin

Apologies for another much delayed review, laptop problems are meaning I am stock-piling these review on notepad and then writing them out later which will cause a tsunami of review to cascade from this page once I am back up and running.  But till then all I can do is get prepared to eventually post these reviews and this one is all about French Math Pop act, Classe Mannequin.  The members of the band are Bertrand S, Billon R, Lacante S & Guchet B and they are interested in the noisy end of pop music and how the dynamic of sound can influence the music.  Taking influences from The Flaming Lips, Television and Deerhoof, they are on a mission to make a glorious sound that will appeal to fans of many genres.  But how does the music sound, is it any good or is it just random noise?  Only one way to find out, lets us look at the record....

01 - Candy Panda

The sound of 'Candy Panda' is a sound that will bring memories of late 90’s/early 00’s British Indie music; it is a stomp of indie, a whiff of angular rock and nothing too heavy so that the indie sensibilities are disturbed.  A song about being on displace for all to see, it has an interest riff in the middle of the song, the lack of fuzzy guitar tones is strange for me (maybe I have been listening to too much metal recently) and it is one that makes the band stand out from a lot of acts that are currently making waves.

02 – I don’t mind

Much like ‘Candy Panda’ before it, ‘I don’t Mind’ is more angular indie rock/pop with a British influence, it has a louder sound on this one and a gang mentality to the backing vocals.  It feels like this one is heading towards the door from the start as the lyrics have a sad taint towards the, but the music is a cheerful blend of Sultans of Ping FC and it also has a hint of indie noise act Holy Fuck to the riff. 

03 – Fakir

With a minimal bass & drum intro, the strumming guitars herald this slower number which is takes the mood of the album a little South at this point.  It is a strange number which seems to have lots going on, but it does not deliver much sound for all that effort and it feels a combination of retrained and lethargic; it is not really doing anything strange, but for the most part it seems to loop on itself and could have used a little bit of energy as it seems a little bit too empty

04 – Soleil d’Amour

This song is another which feels like it is missing something, like it requires someone to show the band how to let go of their worked up feelings.  Like a stripped back version of Dutch Uncles, it loops around a single riff, but without much progression till around the two-minute mark where it seems to change for a few bars.  Then it is back to the original riff without much by or a leave, but it quickly changes back to the interesting riff and the song starts to sing.  I think this is a true Jekyll & Hyde song, it is both alright and amazing in the same four-minute space.

05 – Chaser

‘Chaser’ feels like it is wanting to break from the blocks with that pulsing bass opening, like it is ready to make a break for cover and then when the main riff comes in, it just feels so gentle that the energy of that bass dissipates into the air.  The song itself is ok, but that bassline hints at something more, which is almost delivered in the bridge section. 

06 – How Their Ma Was So Devilishly Handsome

With a gentle beginning, I was not holding out too much hope to be honest.  With a gentle dUES-esque riff, the song starts off with as much focus that has become a bit of an issue for me on this album.  It feels a little too loose in place and that it is not being kept together, but by the end of the song it still has that dUES sound; however, it has the focus and tone that could help this band become world beaters. 

07 – Fajitas Oh My Lord

This song could have been created by The Breeders and it would be getting world-wide praise, starting with a riff that mixes their gentler style and some louder moment, it has a positive energy and vibe which allows those drifting phases to work as it has a solid backdrop from the bass and drums which matches the guitars.  Definitely one of the best tracks on this album, probably the best one if the truth be told.

08 – Disco Pomme

I like the beginning of ‘Disco Pomme’, its spaced out, stop & start guitar which is then joined by the drums and has a hint of The Posies about it as it goes for a jangly guitar indie with a hint of lighter grunge thrown in as well.  It explodes in all the right places and makes such a good noise, even when it breaks down near the middle and hits that angular groove that is a signature of the band, it all comes together with

09 – Ballroom Dancer

The penultimate song is another song that generates interest for me, it goes for a gentle riff over a complex drumming and fast bass, then it has a chaotic sound to the guitar as the dance unfolds before your eyes.  Much like a dancer (or a swan), it is all elegant and graceful on top, whilst underneath all the action is happening and it drives the song forward.  It is such a good song, another number that makes me wonder what was happening at the beginning of the album.

10 - Tunnel

‘Tunnel’ brings proceeding to an end, it is a short and sweet number with the instruments being layered on top of each other one by one, the cow bell being hit and the speed increases ever so slightly with every twist of the riff.  As an instrumental it is an interest track which could have been extended, sadly it ends after two minutes plus and with that the album is also brought to a close.

For what Classe Mannequin are about, they do not do anything wrong at all; it is user-friendly indie with a hint of rock and pop.  As far as angular Indie Pop/Rock goes, it is a decent record which will give a lot of fans of the sound of early 00’s indie something new to listen to.  However, I found the album to be a little empty in places and not too engaging; whether this is by design or not is not something I could really comment on, but it required a little more soul about it in places. Sometimes it would hint at a different riff, a subtle change and then it would sort of continue as it had from the beginning of the songs.  I do not want to be harsh, but it does become frustrating when you can hear talent and progression, but then it becomes lost along the way.  But in all fairness as well, the album does end a lot strong that it started, with a better set of songs from ‘Fajitas Oh My Lord‘ onwards which brings the album up a mark or two for me.  So, whilst they are not doing anything wrong, it is also not quite right either and ends up being decent record for me.  They are an act I would return to, just to see what progression has been made as they are some good songs on here. So, we have a decent album here, but one that also raises a few more questions than it really answers.

6.5 out of ten – Now I see where you were going, but it is not quite there.

Top track – Disco Pomme

You can purchase the digital version of Classe Mannequin on Amazon here.

You can purchase Classe Mannequin from the Classe Mannequin Bandcamp page here.

You can visit the Classe Mannequin page on Head Records here.

You can follow the activities of Classe Mannequin on Facebook here.

You can stream Classe Mannequin on Spotify here.

You can stream Classe Mannequin on Deezer here.

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