2011 10 Favourite Labels
Spotlight 3

Félicia Atkinson
Bee Mask
Gui Boratto
Peter Broderick
Benjamin Broening
Chicago Odense Ens.
Dday One
Lawrence English
The Field
Nils Frahm
Douglas Greed
Jim Haynes
Hess + McFall
High aura'd
Hior Chronik
King Midas Sound
Leyland Kirby
Knox & Oberland
Tom Lawrence
Planetary Assault Systems
Two People In A Room
Christina Vantzou
Marius Vareid
Wolfgang Voigt
Water Borders
Wenngren & Bissonnette
Eisuke Yanagisawa

Compilations / Mixes
Above The City
Air Texture Vol. 1
Burning Palms
Emerging Organisms 4
Live And Remastered

Antonymes/ S. D. Society
Late Night Chronicles
Old Apparatus
Option Command
Benoît Honoré Pioulard
Kevin Reynolds

Slove: Le Danse

Slove's debut album Le Danse suggests that one might think of the band as some Notwist-Siouxsie and the Banshees-Yeah Yeah Yeahs-Primal Scream hybrid. The flamboyant electro-pop crafted by French duo Léo Hellden and Julien Barthe certainly feels like it's more naturally made for the seedy underground than the sunlight. The producers' cool tunes draw upon multiple traditions—indie rock, electronica, punk, disco, funk, pop—and snarl with attitude. At the core of a typical Slove song is a pulsing bass line that Hellden and Barthe adorn with distorted swathes of buzzsaw guitar stabs, synth washes, and vocals split between four guests (Michael Giffts, Sarah Krebs, Anne-Laurie Keib, and Olivier Rocabois).

The album rolls in on a decadently swinging note with the title track's tough funk groove augmented by Gifft's murmured drawl and spikey guitar interjections—a promising start for Slove's electro-punk-pop mix. Giffts repeatedly chants a cryptic verse (“I stare into the killer's eye / I lose control but don't know why / Into the brightest sky”) on the clubby “The Brightest,” which Slove powers with a steamy disco pulse. Here and elsewhere, the character of the vocalist does a lot to push Slove's music in a particular direction. In a trio of song appearances, Mississippi-born Sarah Krebs brings Slove's sound into the open air with her sensual vocal presence. Album highlight “Flash” is Slove at its melodic best, a burning five minutes of incandescent pop decadence elevated by Krebs' voice and soaring hooks. Totally opposite in character, “DMGM” offers a torchy ballad interlude that finds a fragile Krebs emoting tenderly over a sparse piano backdrop. It's hard not to think of The Notwist when Olivier Rocabois's vocal surfaces during the swaggering “Do We Need?”; Rocabois returns for a soothing closer, “If Only I Had,” that exposes Slove's more wistful side. Hellden and Barthe also sneak in a couple of clubby instrumentals, most notably “My Pop,” which overlays its fluid 4/4 stomp with guitar blaze and the dizzying see-saw of a string player.

Most songs are tightly constructed, one obvious exception being “Carte Postale,” which, by comparison, sounds like a loose jam featuring Keib counting in French (“Une, deux, trois, quatre, cinq, seize, sept, huit…”) over a buzzing groove—not a misstep necessarily but hardly the album's high point. A few wrong moves doesn't significantly alter the strong impression left by the album as a whole, however, and Hellden and Barthe build a compelling case for their oft-intoxicating blend of electro-punk-pop in this solid debut effort.

November 2011