Les Discrets may well have fallen under some radars, but they are a wonderful hidden gem worthy of immediate investigation. Describing themselves as “Cinematographic Indie-Post Rock from France” goes some way to describing their sound but they are really more of an enigma than this.
‘Prédateurs’ sees their sound evolve even further away from the post-black roots of their debut, and push the boundaries of their shoegaze heavy follow up into darker, electro-trip-rock territory, while maintaining the melancholy and daring the listener to submit to its sweeping atmospherics and hypnotic core.
The album opens with a spoken word recording played over a simple but haunting melody, before drifting nonchalantly into ‘Virée Nocturne’ which is a surreal masterpiece that washes over you as it effortlessly carries you away. ‘Les Amis de Minuit’’s stunning yet subdued melodies complete that journey, depositing the listener in some far away peaceful place completely mesmerised.
‘Vanishing Beauties’ creates a darker ambience, which is challenging, almost as though the band are trying to provoke a response after the ethereal beauty of the preceding tracks, and they succeed.
The tempo remains subdued for ‘Fleur des Murailles’ with its pulsating rhythm acting as the background for more emotive, subtle yet powerful melodies, which is continued on ‘Le Reproche’. The tracks fly by, working well together as a powerful unit, and are really all continuations of each other, with each track feeding off the emotion and ambience created by the previous. ‘Rue Octavio Mey’ leads effortlessly into ‘The Scent Of Spring (Moonraker)’ before the album is brought to a majestic close by the dense soundscapes of ‘Lyon – Paris 7h34’.
This is definitely music for late at night, sitting contemplating life, the universe and everything in it, and the listener must be prepared to give themselves over completely to the music letting it take them on this fully immersive journey.
This is an album of opposites. It is sad, and yet somehow also uplifting. It is nostalgic and yet also current. It is subtle and yet demanding. It is a subdued, elegant masterpiece, that left me feeling drained, and yet also revitalised.
(9/10 Andy Pountney)