ALBUM: Rodolphe Coster and Band ‘High With The People’

Rating:

It is without question that within the past five years guitar music has experienced a boom not seen since the indie-landfill days of the mid-2000’s. Fontaines DC, Dry Cleaning and Wet Leg are breaking into the mainstream consciousness with some of the freshest guitar tones heard in a long-time.

Now, the influential Rodolphe Coster throws his hat into the ring with his new band releasing their first album, ‘High with the People’. A sonic masterpiece that revels in dragging the listener to its dark underworld.

Opening up the album is, ‘Seagulls Fly On Highways’ which features some of the most blissful shoegaze your likely to hear this year. A wall of sound greats you at the opening, smacking you in the face with a barrage of overdrive and fuzz. As it abruptly breaks into the verses, the track introduces some sleek synth notes that mix perfectly with the light, dreamy vocal delivery.

The next track, ‘Derlish’, takes the album in a surprising direction with a less direct and more ambient sound. The vocals too are quieter, coming through the speakers almost with a whisper, with a brooding intensity reminiscent of My Bloody Valentine’s Bilinda Butcher or Ride’s Mark Garder. The guitars soon come and rip through the rich, sonic tapestry with a reckless abandon.

‘Gilles Memory’ takes the album in yet another direction, with the bass and drums dancing together to give a more funk influenced sound. It has a groove deep rooted within its intensity that means you have to dance as much as your body may be screaming at you not to. The vocals are spoken word, closer to poetry than music. They’re at their manic best, taking a great pleasure in scaring the listener. As the album has progresses, the dark edges that were apparent at the start have now become razor sharp.

Album closer, ‘Burglar Blames Shadows’ is the standout musical cut of the album. Leading in with cool, clean electronica, the vocals gain a new edge from this techno backdrop. Rodolphe Coster has taken you on a trip to his dark soundscape and is now ready to spit you back out. At the halfway mark the album makes a stark and surprising turn, with the darkness making way for a sense of optimism. Acoustic guitars, straight from an, ‘Automatic for the People’ era REM, replace the synth and electronica. Even the vocals take on a clearer, cleaner tone, with the albums musical rollercoaster now over.

‘High with the People’ has got to be a late contender for album of the year. A deeply rich, expressive musical journey, it’s truly blissful listen. Its dark, intense and brooding, more reminiscent of Joy Division than Slowdive, but it’s hard not to love the true joy Coster takes in these warped compositions.