Spitzer: The Call

The Call, the debut Spitzer album by brothers Mattieu and Damien Bregère, is one of the most solid releases from Infiné in recent memory. The French siblings bring an inspired twist to the dance music genre by crafting a punk-techno sound that's as dependent on guitars as it is programmed beats. The ten-track collection, a follow-up to 2010's Roller Coaster EP, snarls with attitude in its ear-catching fusion of punk swagger and underground techno, and the duo wisely forego minimal tastefulness for a style that's brazen, epic, and coated in grit and grime.

Establishing the band's underground blueprint memorably, the opener “Marsch” gradually emerges out of a textural intro of cavernous darkness to become a hard-hitting techno workout coloured by synth swarm and dissonant guitar shadings. Up next, the militant groove powering “Madigan” is reinforced by the inclusion of dramatic, war-like chants while its underground feel is enhanced by the ominous clangour of electric guitar twang. The album's post-punk vibe comes most fully to the fore during “Clunker,” whose gothic blaze and raw vocal by Fab, of Frustration (signed to the Parisian label Born Bad), might invite comparisons to Mark E. Smith and The Fall for some listeners. In stark contrast, Kid A graces “Too Hard to Breathe” with a soaring, Björk-styled vocal that nicely complements the grandiose, synth-heavy backing conjured into being by the Bregères.

Contrast is not exclusive to the vocal cuts. Whereas “Sergen” is perhaps the track that most overtly bridges the group's preferred realms in the way it pairs aggressive guitar strafings with a more controlled synth-based funk-techno backing, “Masbat” works traces of jazz-fusion and prog into its radiant synth-techno, while “Sir Chester” serves up five bouncy minutes of Kompakt-styled trance-techno. Relatively straightforward tracks such as “Breaking the Wave” and “The Call” prove to be as effective in presenting epic acid-techno and shuffle material that's heavily atmospheric yet exudes a melancholy edge. If there's a weakness to the album, it has to do with cohesiveness, as The Call often plays like a compilation of multiple artists rather than the work of a single group, even if the tracks thoroughly succeed when broached on individual terms. That's a minor complaint, however, given how satisfying the material is on the whole.

September 2012