l'Objet: Monorail

The half-hour Monorail proves that the France-based instrumental trio l'Objet is more than a match for similarly-styled outfits on this side of the Atlantic. Two shorter pieces, “Ribéry” and “Last Days,” ease the listener in before the fifteen-minute closer, “Monorail,” appears. The compositions are carefully worked out though not so much so that spontaneity is compromised, and guitarist Arnaud Boulogne, bassist Antoine Harpagès, and drummer Julien Harpagès get ample space to maneuver and make the most of it. Not surprisingly, the spotlight shines brightest on Boulogne who's more than up to the challenge, whether it calls for scorched riffing or restraint. His multi-layered attack elevates the spacey “Last Days” and leads the charge in the title track, too, but the rhythm players are hardly back-ups. Antoine gets some bruising lead moments on “Monorail” while Julien provides unerring support throughout. In classic post-rock fashion, the title piece moves through numerous peaks and valleys, with segues executed smoothly rather than abruptly. The slow burn the trio stokes during the track's closing third is marvelously handled; a shame, though, that l'Objet opts not to unleash its hellacious power at the expected climax and instead shifts gears for a placid coda. Sometimes a little less control is what's needed.

February 2008