J.C. Satàn - Sick of Love

by Leonie Mercedes Rating:6.5 Release Date:2010-11-29

Hailing from Bordeaux via Turin, five-piece boy/girl garage band and fans of the oxymoron J.C. Satàn certainly benefit from their mixed line-up. Their first album is a collection of tales of longing, a sonic exploration of the seventh layer of hell, imbued with the sweet tension of male and female vocals.

Sick of Love goes a little bit country ('I'll Be There'), and a little bit rock 'n' roll ('Morning After Love') while keeping a raw palette of murky guitars, catchy riffs and near indecipherable lyrics reminiscent of shoegaze. 'Odyssey of Love' kicks things off promisingly with rousing, clattering psychedelia while 'Prehistoric Love' channels 90s British indie in all its sultry, distorting, punkish glory. The strongest moments of Sick of Love unfold when the tension between lead vocalists Arthur Satan and Paula H is at most palpable, notably on the cantering 'Adventure Boat', and the lament of 'Your Place' which crackles with unspent sexual energy.

However, a once roaring flame turns to barely glowing embers about one-third in. 'The Day I Discovered I'm a Bad Man', an echo chamber haunted by phantom beasts, announces a lull that takes up a fair chunk of the album. That infectious energy from the beginning drops off with every song, with each sounding like a variation on the theme of the last. But this is all down to bad programming, as these are songs which, while sounding a tad samey back-to-back, could certainly stand on their own. Perhaps Sick of Love would have worked better as a pair of EPs.

By all means, it's worth the journey. Things do eventually take a turn for the better by the elastic yearning of 'Superhero' and the urgency of 'Endless Fall'. J.C. Satàn, if derivative, prove they have a good grasp on melody and structure, but this album suffers from a lack of stamina.

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