Incommunicado: French instrumentalists return with a verdict for the world that can be saved in non-verbal way.
Coming back with a third record to mark their 15 years of existence, the members of this quartet are understandably eager to comment on perpetual change – obliged to by the “yang” principle, perhaps, which has a way of redeeming the ensemble’s darkness via the very act of creating it, because that’s what art is often about. “The Failure Of Words” takes the idea even further, to become a requiem for people who can’t find common ground in a conversation, and providing it feeds into the band’s current modus operandi.
With the sinister surf-rock of “El Diablo” setting the album’s tone – or, rather, tritone – and making the riffs stumble, there’s a dance of anxiety in the instrumental interplay that hints at pleasure yet, opting instead for metallic brilliance, delivers on this promise only before the piece’s coda, when Frédéric L’Epée and Laurent James’ guitars weave a complex web of licks. Such a sign-off may open emotional floodgates for the ivories-paved “Six Four Five” whose lyrical stream, solemnly translucent, dissolves into an exquisite acoustic lace, as does “Slow Flow (Flux Lent)” later on, as if to contrast the hectic funk behind “Iago” – a befitting aural portrait of the Shakespearean character – while “9/8 Variations” is bristling with infectious hard rock spikes.
Nico Gomez’s bass and Volodia Brice’s drums get positioned center-stage to define the heavy filigree which drives “Babel Inside” towards funereal comedown, whereas “Indecision” intensifies the initial nervousness and gives it a new texture. It elevates the ensemble’s performance to tip the scales in favor of pessimistic resolution until Eastern motifs in “Decroissance (Degrowth)” redress the balance again. Still, “Healing (Guerison)” has only an iota of serenity in the overall tension – so typical for co-producer Markus Reuter’s own oeuvre – and that’s what expresses communication deficit in the best way possible. Music doing the talking can really mean more than words.