Duchess Says Anthologie des 3 Perchoirs

[Alien8; 2008]

Rating: 3/5

If you've been paying attention to music for the last eight years, you will no doubt recognize this brand of blown-out experimental post-punk. Duchess Says formed in Montreal in 2003, and after spending most of their career touring, they've finally released their first full-length, Anthologie des 3 Perchoirs. But it's 2008 now, and their musical approach, frankly, feels like it's over. This is not to the quartet's discredit, however; what they do, they do well, and in only a very recent era, this record would have had the press banging down their door.

It opens with the misleading "Tenen non neu," where Annie-Claude Deschênes' lyricless vocals stomp up and down unpredictable arpeggios and punctuated rests, while the drums, guitar, and synth leap along with her in parallel. Later, fierce, Krautrock-y, lockstep rhythms lay the foundation for metal-like guitar riffs and bleating synth punches, while A-Claude yelps unintelligibly and distortedly over the dancefloor. Anomalies like the moody, haunting "A century old" and the minimal, New-Wave-y "Black Flag" break things up, and even the less distinct songs race through numerous mutations in their short running time.

There's a lot on offer here if you're willing to look. I'm sure I'd discover more each time I listened to it, if I were compelled to listen to it much more in the first place. For all its vibrancy and proficiency, there's something dead about Anthologie des 3 Perchoirs. It's an earnest, accomplished piece of work that is, sadly, not terribly vital. But don't eliminate these guys from your radar just yet.

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