L’Épée – Diabolique

Every weekend, I post my radio program to Mixcloud. None of their categories really work for The Moderns. So I’ve experimented with different ones. After ranking on the Indie chart for a couple of weeks, I started to receive indie rock album submissions for review.

I’ve been a fan of the genre for years, but for the most part I’ve avoided that music in this space because too much of it lacks individuality. Its formulaic nature has become a distraction.

Every now and then though, an album lands – like this debut from L’Épée – that breathes fresh life into rock and roll.

The quartet features actress/vocalist Emmanuelle Seigner (Ultra Orange & Emmanuelle), Anton Newcombe (The Brian Jonestown Massacre) and Lionel and Marie Liminana (The Limiñanas). This is a coming together of accomplished artists with a shared sense of the potential still inherent in alt rock.

There are a couple of things about Diabolique that will hit you right away.

First, the obligatory Velvet Underground reference. Take that basement nightclub vibe and jangly guitars, add a dash of French pop sensibility and sit Phil Spector down at the mixing board.

Second, the melodies are unforgettable. Every one of these 10 tracks feels like a single. They are sweet and infectious and just mysterious enough to make Diabolique feel like a record very much worth collecting.

The project was planned as a solo vehicle for Seigner originally. But after producing The Limiñanas’s 2018 album, Newcombe says he had a dream that “we made a group of four and we were called L’Épée . . . I saw a double-edged sword, if I may say, on one side it can free you. On the other, she cuts you in pieces.” That quote comes from a piece on the French pop site Fanfare.

It’s not difficult to draw a straight line from The Brian Jonestown Massacre to The Limiñanas and now L’Épée. In some respects, this is a fairly straightforward supergroup story. Except that it’s not just that. Diabolique is both inspired and inspiring.

Kevin Press

The Moderns, vols. 1 and 2, by Kevin Press are available exclusively from Amazon.

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