I had and still have a problem with this album. What I’m about to say will probably make me sound like a complete lunatic, yet I’ll give it a shot. The trio’s debut album is… too pretty. And don’t get me wrong, pretty is good! ‘Sans Souci’ ticks all the boxes to become people’s ‘favourite album of the year’ as many of them shout out on various music related social networks. And indeed the production, the artwork, the sound is absolutely great. Why then do I still resist to put it among my favourite albums of the year…?

If you Google the meaning of ‘Sans Souci’ quite a lot comes up. Possibly the easiest option is the French ‘without worries’ although my immediate association was Potsdam’s Summer Palace Sanssouci. There are quite a few travel destinations under this name. And that generally corresponds with my reception of the album – summer, leisure, chill out. I mean mental chill out, not the musical one, on that note the album is definitely from the metal provenience. The guitars are sharp, the melodies are very catchy, the bass in some songs can be almost called ‘groovy’ (look out for the grooves in the third track, ‘Jura’). The composition of the album is flawless – songs lead from one to another, the opening and closing of the album creates a loop, you can get stuck on repeat and… enjoy.

Maybe it’s my post rock snobbism, in fact it might be exactly the case, but from a genre tag ‘post rock’ I expect depth, difficulty, I want it to create a love or hate reactions, I want it to be the musical Marmite, you either get it or you don’t. And I think that’s where my problem with ‘Sans Souci’ lies. BBC Music reviewed it as ‘as nod-along appealing as the best pop to have emerged in time for the summer season’ and praised the musicians for ‘making music for the everyman’. That does not sound like a review of a post rock album. I might be expecting too much but I’ve already listened to too many truly masterpiece post rock albums this year and this one does not quite stand the comparison.

My essential conclusion is leaning towards indeed appreciating the music for what it is, and I won’t take that away from Brontide. Their debut album is great, I could listen to it over and over but it just blends into my background. There are moments when I stop to admire a melody (like in very much early Battles-like ‘Arioso’), but it does not make me sit down and think what the hell was going through their heads while composing it. There is no key behind the songs apart from the music itself. I admit, I missed seeing them live, that could have changed my mind and I can tell they would be a real thunder on stage. I’m scared of being too radical by saying that it’s a great piece of instrumental rock – I just wouldn’t call it post…

All in all I have to give Brontide high marks for their debut simply because the album’s production and their sound are really, really good. Unfortunately it’s a case of ‘it’s good, but…’ I just can’t find this post- element that would make me go ‘wow’ and sink my teeth deeper. Still it’s easy and enjoyable to listen to. Maybe I’m just the hopeless case of a post rock romantic who would like to keep ‘our music’ niche and difficult…? I’m more than open to accept a challenge if anyone wants to enlighten me and show me what I’m missing.

Released June 13 on Holy Roar

Echo Rating (((????)))

Posted by Magda

Pin It on Pinterest