Controlled Acoustic Chaos
What can you do with an electro-acoustic guitar and drums? Cheval De Frise can make a whole wonderful insane album.
Cheval De Frise’s music was an avant/math/noise-rock which is at times reminiscing Upsilon Acrux, Ruins and Don Caballero and yet they definitely have a sound of their own, easily identifiable and original.
A lot as Cheval De Frise manage to do in their albums and in this one in particular. Brilliantly going from the acoustic fast paced parts to the more twisted electric sounding ones; they manage to convey in their music vitality and complexity intertwined. It is fast-going, intense and determined, going forward all the time, without looking back or to the sides. It is a fantastic harmonious monologue-a-deux of the two musicians on their drums and acoustic and the electric guitar.
It is not as weird as it might sound; rather the intensity of it might deter listeners and give a strong impression of hyper-complexity; this is indeed sophisticated and intricate but not as inaccessible as other avant-rock bands are. Rather it is quite accessible to my ears. They do show at times a hyper-fast typical math- rock characteristic a-la Don Caballero, but for the most part, the acoustic guitar is played ultra-fast which gives the chaotic impression a-la Ruins.
I for one also feel that they have a good sense of melody, which may sound weird to people unfamiliar with this sort of style. However, this album would resemble even more other avant/math-rock bands if melody would not be part of it. The tunes here are as important as the complexity. This is not a stage to show only their skills as players, but also their talent as composers of a particular style that is more often than not, not associated with beauty. However, I find it is inherent to their sound. The electric guitar gives a good measure of variety to the intensity of the tracks; it also serves as good peaking point, a further climax in a multi-climatic track structure album. It also gives another dimension to the sound, keeping it from being too one dimensional. The album is made up of mostly short tracks, which goes well with this sort of style, and yet as I listen to it, there is a feel of continuity in a way that there is a sort of connecting thread linking the various tracks.
One thing that must be said: the musicianship is astonishing! The energy that the two musicians put into each track is amazing and probably equals that of entire albums of other bands. Both the guitar playing and the drumming are phenomenal; they are virtuosic, fast and accurate, passionate and jagged. This album is a delight to listen to not only for the music but also for this aspect, which is the brilliant playing.
This is a frantic ride, a fabulous avant-rock album that will please those looking for a rush and excellent fast and furious musicianship.