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Avec Le Soleil Sortant De Sa Bouche
Pas Pire Pop (I ♥︎ You So Much) Timothy Archer , January 25th, 2017 21:12

Comprising three distinct pieces that weave and charm their way through swirling psychedelic rock, skittish afro-beat and the mesmeric narcosis of kraut-rock repetition, the second album from Montreal’s forward-thinking prog-pop purveyors Avec Le Soleil Sortant De Sa Bouche moves like the shifting of a kaleidoscope. Pas Pire Pop's deceptively pleasing, but these long-form jams unfurl their nuanced secrets and reveal themselves as highly composed and skilfully rendered cosmic freak-outs, as intellectually rewarding and loudly enjoyable as anything on the Constellation roster.

The intricate, serpentine pieces represented here are commonly founded on sparse, reduced ground; tight grooves expressed with delectable bass funk and motorik, trance-inducing drum work reminiscent of Oneida’s Kid Millions providing a sunlit and dreamy, yet reassuringly mechanical infrastructure. Over these deep grooves are introduced buoyant turns of phrase wrought from deftly destructive staccato guitar and a spacious, sky-arcing synth straight out of 1970s science fiction soundtracks (or indeed, Constellation band Feu Therese’s Ça Va Cogner).

It’s all so magnificently playful: intricately layered refrains build with zealous, impassioned repetition, giving way to tight, delicious locked grooves. Melodic idioms appear and are woven into the fabric of the whole, passing with quiet efficiency as hints toward transition – the ease at which these pieces shift on a sixpence belies a mastery of this craft. There’s no accident here: these musicians are veterans of Montreal’s avant-garde underground, the teeth cut pioneering experimentalism with single-minded vigour and often glorious results (in Pas Chic Chic and founding Constellation band Le Fly Pan Am) clearly inform the finesse at play across this record’s soaring hour.

The compositional choices seem instinctive as instruments resound and find response, as keys take cues from bass, as guitar interjects with blithe abrasion or drives the piece with spritely, decadent licks, as suggestions are made and found answered, explored in open-minded curiosity. With great subtlety and light-heartedness, these pieces grow in delicate complexity as they achieve their fevered apex, returning on the other side to be renewed and to swell in rhythmic urgency again. Everything is at play here, and everything is at stake.

As Avec Le Soleil gambol through this delighted music, one almost forgets the presence of people behind this wall of frenetic, glorious sound: so frequently does Pas Pire Pop move with gleeful automation as transitions shift effortlessly, pleasingly unnoticed. And whilst it is easy to lose perception of time’s objective passing in the company of these tremendous bodies of music, the performances here speak to an essential degree of active listening on each musician’s part– to each other, to cues of rhythm and tone, to the construction of a sound greater than component parts.

To this extent, Avec Le Soleil Sortant De Sa Bouche are in production of a great transcendence. The record is profoundly enjoyable, crucially – it never loses sight of the unpretentious gravity inherent to a daftly enjoyable melodic expression nor the dynamic, richly-affirming potential of dance as a literal compulsion, a necessity. Yet also fundamentally aware that the journey is as (if not more) important than the destination, Pas Pire Pop is an exercise in deconstruction and subsequent reincarnation.

As the album moves to conclusion, it weaves in ever-more complex, disparate elements: hedonistically caustic thrash-guitar ravaging all before it with angular, furious shredding, sky-tearing synths shifting pitches and bringing everything into new resolved clarity, percussive screams in the hard-panned channels affording tension and refusing outright release (a gratifying callback to Le Fly Pan Am’s masterful final album N’ecoutez Pas) – culminating with a mind-warping catharsis of naked white noise before returning in sweetness. This band achieve so much from their willingness to follow the promise of each melody to fulfilment, wringing every last sweet drop of euphony from this music. In doing so, Avec Le Soleil Sortant De Sa Bouche have produced a record which is at once ambitiously progressive, admirably methodical and unassumingly joyous.