Corbeaux/Volte Face - The Meeting Point

by Steve Reynolds Rating:8 Release Date:2012-11-09

The Meeting Point is a split EP by two French bands, Corbeaux and Volte Face. After a bit of research I find them both to be 'purveyors of post-rock'. A veritable challenge bearing in mind that this genre is swamped with the goodness of GSYBE, Explosions in the sky and Mogwai.

Corbeaux lead the way on this five-track EP. They state that they wanted to replicate the live feel, recording the songs as a full band, refusing to split it down into parts. They begin proceedings with 'Airpaint', starting with a heavy air of maudlin piano and disparate drums fragmented by harsh xylophone tones, and brooding, layer-building guitar. It's a rather fine intro, with bags of melody and makes for a mouth-watering lead track.

Volte Face seem much more aligned to dark synth patterns, sharing a sense of bleakness with The Twilight Sad on 'Blade Runner', but they cleverly bring in warm surrounding sounds akin to Boards of Canada part-way in before twisting the song on its head to make it sound like The Presets. I appreciate there are a few reference points in that last sentence but for a burgeoning band, I feel it's the least we can do to give them something for people to correlate to. '28 jours plus tard' is Corbeaux's second offering. A seemingly nowhere, humdrum beginning bursts into a disruptive affair, containing bellowing drums and driving guitar soothed by a childlike ending of learn-by-numbers xylophone.

Volte Face ship out the synths and lavish us with guitars aplenty on 'In another life'. The arrangement is quite sparse but sharp, with clever use of space and a roomy, vulnerable feel. There are lots of shifts musically, from shimmering, clipped guitar to shallow drums to soaring synths, all done at the drop of a hat and at a stage of the song when you least expect it. You sense some confident jamming has taken place along with a real visceral approach to their songs.

The finale is the EP's title track and gives us the equivalent of a French post-rock supergroup, with both bands collaborating seamlessly to flex their own musical muscles. There is light and shade suitably applied, and plenty of the quite/loud bits you would expect from post-rock bands, but not in a predictable way, as varied use of time-signatures keeps the whole song on its toes with a driving, urgent show of ambition.

If this is a yardstick to measure the dawning of a new French revolution by, then it's far better than we give them credit.

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