Delusion Squared 2018
Requiem for humanity as refracted through the prysm of faux-apocalyptic post-rock – or illusion thereof.
It must be difficult to feel sorry for our planet if you are fatigued – or at least sound the part… But then, there’s a concept in there, and this group are no strangers to a unifying theme, and while 2012’s "II" concentrated on Armageddon from a religious angle, the Frenchmens’ fourth record focuses on real world’s finite resources and life on the brink of catastrophe. Down to a duo now, the band definitely don’t diminish their scope, supporting melodies instead with snippets of radio transmissions here to create an integral experience full of aloofness, and although disengagement may be deliberate, such an approach won’t make it easy to receive a message of the 66-minute-long album.
Yet when an effort is made, there’s a lot of surprises to take in. Setting up anxiety and balancing out the contrast of the almost pastoral tune and the piece’s subject matter, “Devolution” wraps languid vocals in pacifying strum and lava-like synthetic soundscape, and once honeyed voices and mellifluous backing entwine into a dialogue, the listener is bound to become a part of it. As a result, the small ensemble may deal in prog which almost forgot how to rock, occasional riff notwithstanding, but that makes no difference in the quiet grandeur of “The Great Leap” and other lucid numbers.
Still, “Necessary Evil” has many inner movements, as signaled by Emmanuel de Saint Méen’s orchestral electronica flirting with Steven Francis’ guitars, whereas the organ-oiled flow of “An Ominous Way Down” is rather uneventful despite folk motif lurking in there. In a similar way, subdued solemnity that unfolds in “To This Day” will produce a powerfully cinematic effect, expanding its scope, but the harder rumble of “Original Sin” is undermined by pale passages, bombastic keyboard splashes and uninspired singing. Sometimes, contradiction and logic go hand in hand, of course, so if “Heirs Of Time” is completely devoid of urgency the overall theme might suggest, “The Promised Land” comes organically blissful in the tune’s sweet fluidity.
Not being alien to the world’s affairs must be difficult, and as a soundtrack of worry “Antropocene” can mitigate this suffering.