Tristesse Contemporaine – Stay Golden (Records Makers)
Minimal electro, indie trio Tristesse Contemporaine release their second long player. Louder Than War’s Paul Scott-Bates listens and reviews.
What’s in a name eh? Well, it may not be the snappiest choice for a group, but it’s certainly one you’ll remember if you come across it again.
The Paris based trio have all the credentials for a great sound – Japanese ex-punk, British hip-hopper and Swedish hockey player (surely every group should have one?), and the pre-release blurb does a good job of selling them. Are they any good? The simple answer is, Yes, they are actually.
Their sound is sparse and simple. Hard, precise, clinical drumbeats with bass lines that are repetitive and enjoyable. There’s a certain laziness about their music too which has great charm. The backings are sparse and Maik’s vocals are, for the most part softly spoken.
Singles, Fire and Waiting are appealing and addictive. There are faux samples of Jacko on the very wonderful Going Out Tonight which continues a sound that Tristesse can (and have) made their own.
Unfortunately, the album takes a bit of a backward step when Maik tries too hard to create a bad boy accent on I Do Want I Want. He clearly doesn’t talk like this and to be honest, it grates. The line “I do what I want, I never get caught’ is childish and doesn’t work. It’s a shame as the hard sound is superb and the backing vocals from Narumi are interesting and welcome. Similarly, it’s apparently fun to be an arsonist on Can’t Resist. Maybe I’m just becoming a prude in my forty somethings.
They can certainly write a good tune, and I’ve played this album at least half a dozen times now without getting bored with it as a whole. I could have been listening to other stuff, but there’s something about the album that you just can’t pinpoint which means you just can’t let it go.
All words by Paul Scott-Bates. More of Paul’s writing on Louder Than War can be found here. Paul’s website is hiapop Blog. Paul is working hard to save Radio Lancashire’s On The Wire, the BBCs longest running alternative music programme. Follow him on twitter as @saveonthewire for all On The Wire news or follow hiapop Blog on Twitter, @hiapop.