On their first four albums, most bands go by the Wagner handbook, roughly drafted according to the Ring des Nibelungen : birth, conquest, war, destruction. They usually give it all on their first record, keep on trucking at a higher speed on the second, start back from scratch on third effort -most preferably in a totally opposite way- and gamble it all on a fourth album, for a sad epitaph or a one-way ticket to Valhalla. Cheveu has now reached album #3 and since they totally fucked-up the first two steps, there’s nothing surprising in seeing them come back at full speed on a countryside road stuck in a beat-up van on fire, with BUM, their most incredible piece of work to date.
After a quick introduction (the promising but sketchy Cheveu), the parisian trio blew up on the world’s face with their second LP, 1000, a record thrown at the bored masses in full ragged glory. Cheveu now enters 2014 heavy-hearted and red-eyed, just like those wrecks of humanity blinded by the lights at closing time, their misery, bad skin and unachieved schemes exposed before dawn. Cheveu built its third LP on the ashes of those unholy hours, around the majestic « Polonia », a track on which David Lemoine recites a few lines from Bertrand Blier’s Buffet Froid with the set expression of a man empowered by the fact he just shit his pants, while Etienne Nicolas and Olivier Demeaux slowly unwind the rapturous scenery of a theologian western. The song is beautiful, grotesque, heart-rending, just like a scene out of Jean Ray’s Malpertuis backed by a funeral choir of angelwitches, and is definitely one of the most amazing things you’ll hear this year.
BUM, just like « Polonia », is an inner trip, an odyssey bordered by the walls of an antique mansion, full of baroque embroidery and padded club chairs, perfect aural counterpart for the paintings, of Rousseau, master of the exotic which –paradoxically- never ventured out of France. Cheveu’s third record is full-on excess and absurdity, but is also much more legible and effective than their previous efforts (see « Juan In A Million » or the sure-fire hit « Albinos », which lyrics are taken from a monologue in Harmony Korine’s Gummo), even traditional at times (« Pirate Bay » seems like the very first Cheveu song where guitars sound like guitars). This time, the band opted for a much more live-based, organic and fully-produced sound, replacing 1000’s messy cut-ups and Cheveu’s shitgaze blur by throbbing organs (played by Xavier Klaine and recorded at Saint Merri Church) and wall-of-sound choirs (arranged in Tel-Aviv by Maya Dunietz, already in charge of the lush string arrangements on 1000). The result : 10 tracks drier and sharper than anything Cheveu has done before, definitely out-of-this-world but elegantly mannered, veined with unaltered genius and ending with the spectacular « Johnny Hurry Up », an unreal track which owes Wall Of Voodoo and X as much as François de Roubaix and crowns Cheveu as the masters of a new world where love burns over piles of rotting meat and shit.