France's Les Discrets have been active for nigh on nine years, yet are only on the cusp of their second full length release. Driving force Fursy Teyssier has had a hand in one of the greatest exports of the majestic French scene, Amesoeurs (unfortunately a band no longer in existence), and once upon a time toured with Alcest as their bassist. It comes as no surprise that Les Discrets is a magical as his many dalliances as a musician and also as an artist - Teyssier creating pieces for his own band as well as Alcest, Heretoir, Amesoeurs, Lantlôs, Drudkh, Old Silver Key and even Morbid Angel. These works evoke the deep-seated feelings that flow throughout each album they are associated with, and sophomore release Ariettes Oubliées... is no different.
A tendril of gloom snakes it's way into opener "Linceul d'hiver," a despondent edge to the gentle introductory piece piercing the darkness Ariettes Oubliées... is shrouded in. A darkness that seeps into every moment, the soaring elements delving into the unknown corners of death with hints of what may lie beyond, Les Discrets majestic in the deepest of thoughts. Taking the foundations on which debut Septembre Et Ses Dernières Pensées built it's sweet sounds on, Ariettes Oubliées... twists fears and nightmares into something beautiful and wonderful to behold. The gorgeous layers of "Le Mouvement perpétuel" shimmer with a melancholy radiance, the post-rock influence bursting through the shining palette of despair; Teyssier's voice heavy with the weight of his own reflections on mortality, Audrey Hadorn lending a rich and soothing backing vocal here and throughout the album and a deep and dark rumble courtesy of Winterhalter's drum line binds the piece into a somber masterpiece.
It's difficult to group Les Discrets into a genre, as many are wont to do, the history of the band members seeing them often bandied about in the same breath as Alcest, who are a much more metal affair. Les Discrets sit most comfortably in the shoegaze and post-rock realm - a term used here that is at odds with it's first use and meaning - but the styles and sentiments found are consistent enough for it to make sense. The dynamics of each track float into the atmosphere, bittersweet anguish heralded by a blanket of fuzzy guitar tone and a vocal ascending to the heavens themselves - "Ariettes oubliées I : Je devine à travers un murmure..." cutting deep the very core of the soul like a long forgotten memory.
"Les Regrets" closes Ariettes Oubliées... almost the same way it began, scintillating and incandescent, pulling the opening of "Linceul d'hiver" back into the mind then exploding into brilliant light. Mournful and solemn yet lifting the spirit so wholly it's difficult to comprehend that death is the end at all. Breathtaking.
9.0 / 10
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