21 May 2017
Bison Bisou - Bodysick
Welcome to the latest round of our Cover Roulette! For the newbies, occasionally I pick an album to review just based on the cover alone, it can sometimes gain brilliant results, every now and then you get a complete dud - but it keeps the interest for me at least. I am trying to remember how this album came into my life as it ended up on my radar due to that random floating hair cut photo, but I cannot for the life of me think where I first saw it. Bison Bisou hail from Lille-Roubaix-Dunkerque in France, they formed in 2011 and this is their second release, but their first album. Their bio on Facebook is really funny, it talks about wedding bars, middle fingers to the skies, the five-legged electric animal and more crazy ramblings - at least that is how it translates through Google. But however it really translates, this band seem to embrace chaos and mayhem is their natural twin just from looking through their photos. So, this could go one of two ways - it could be explosively brilliant, or a shit shower - let's find out which it is going to be.
01 - Regine
Introducing the album is a recording of a choir, it is not a song I am familiar with and it is in French. It is short, the vocals sound nice and it sort of ends quite quickly......
02 - Hypersects
......then the band kick in, with an indie/punk number that sounds like it is busting with energy and passion. The low-slung bass drives the song on as the guitars jangle and bash you around until there is a dUES-esque breakdown and they descend into noise. Grabbing your attention from the beginning, Bison Bisou have a great sound and 'Hypersects' does create an appetite for the rest of the album.
03 - Perv
The looping guitars and vocals begin 'Perv' until the bass and drums come in with all the subtlety of a brick through a window. With an industrial overtone, mixed with the post punk sounds of a fucked off Placebo and Fugazi, 'Perv' feels like it is on the cusp of exploding for the best percentage of the song. However, it does reach a peak quite late in the song and then collapses into noise and it feels like it has all be for nought. A good, but frustrating track if I am honest.
04 - Fine
'Fine' comes out of the blocks running, straight away it is an explosive number that smashes into the listener in a similar style to the work of Bristol noise merchants, Idles. This song twists and turns with such style. It is spikey and packs a punch, making it stand out from the crowd a bit. However, I am feeling like I have heard this style before and once it reaches a certain plateau, it sorts of drifts along without hitting the next gear.
05 - Interlust
Slow and hard hitting, 'Interlust' has a hard task on its hands. It rumbles around, the guitars are sparse and deliberately light in places. But it once again feels like it is missing that extra piece of energy that would smash this track out of the park. There is so much potential on this song, but it does not have that required explosion when the song aims to gain volume. So, close once again, but so far at the same time.
06 - Stick
Now, this is more like it! They have finally found that button which takes their sound to a different level here. Their spike filled, noise drive punk is given a dynamite stick in the form of the distortion peddle being beaten to shit and it gives everything the lift that was missing from the last four songs. It is powerful, noisy and it has that angular rock feeling that makes noise punk so good. This song feels like a cathartic experience, such a powerful number that has been required for so long on this album.
07 - Total Fantasy
Now, this song has everything that is good and not so good about this album in a nut shell - the verses start off with a feel that is average and drifting, but by the time they build up to the chorus they start to hit home. It is keeps on building and then it stops, instead of carrying the power forward towards the end, they stop it and keep in playing for a bit longer instead of ending with a bang. It is not a long song, but this music works better when it is short and punchy.
08 - Gazelle
There is a melodic side to Bison Bisou that sometimes almost reaches the surface, but this time it is allowed to be free and to roam a little. It has those angular pieces and towards the end it almost descends into total noise, but for the most part I like this one. It shows what could be possible with their sound and how they good they are, it also shows how much they sound like early Biffy Clyro in places as well.
09 - Roubaix
'Roubaix' starts in the same way which 'Gazelle' ends with guitar strings being strummed at harsh angles and then it sorts of hits the ground with a decent enough pace. If you have ever heard of the Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster, then you will know this sound very well. If not, it is fast pace punk which is driven by the bass and drums, the guitars sort of in the drivers' seat and then it just reaches that old point where it does not hit the overdrive button. Also, it ends so weird, as if you have entered a Nurse with Wounds track by accident. At least that makes it standout from other songs on this album.
10 - Bootysea
From alternative, to noise, to glam, to punk, to art rock, to a feedback ending, all in one song, 'Bootysea' is a song with many facets or split personalities (depending on how you view it). It is a good number, one that never rests on its laurels and it is an adventurous track to say the least. But it is also one that confuses me for one reason - you could have had about four really good ideas/riffs out of this one song, why put them all together as one? It is not that I do not understand what is happening and it is a good song, but once again with Boson Bisou, something they have created could have been more (literally, a lot more).
11 - Cinephilla
Out of the feedback emerges 'Cinephilla', a true noise rock song! This song is sails very close to industrial in places as it sounds like it has been forged from a machine, but it is just a harrowing noise track that actually ends the album with a bang. It is loud, the feedback reverbs around you and it feels like everything has exploded upon impact, good way to end this album.
I think this is a decent album, but it is missing a couple of things. The main thing that is missing, is the constancy and impact for these songs to reach their full potential. The band are a talented bunch of lads, but the songs all tend to hit a glass ceiling and bounce along when there are stars to be reached. The sort of sound that Bison Bisou are aiming for is hard to pull off, as it requires the right tones. For the most part, they almost get there and then it just seems to run out of power sadly. The other side of the coin is when they have a melodic passage that never reaches fruition and just goes nowhere. It is akin to being dragged along by a potential lover who decides to cut everything off and call back later just to do it all again; it is good, but frustrating as well due to the fact it could have been more. So, it was actually neither one or the other of the two options. I like it and it is not bad to be honest, but there was potential for much, much more on this record, such is the way of things with some albums.
6 out of ten - Now, I see where you were going, but it is not quite there.
Top track - Stick
You can purchase Bodysick from the Bison Bisou Bandcamp page here.
You can purchase Bodysick on Amazon here.
You can visit the Bison Bisou website here.
You can follow the activities of Bison Bisou on Facebook here.
You can stream Bodysick on Spotify here.
You can stream Bodysick on Deezer here.
You can stream Bodysick on Tidal here.
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