Saturday, 15 June 2013

Seventeen At This Time - Tokkoubana

Album review by

Going on the little and slightly cryptic information we have, we think Seventeen At This Time, despite being French, have strong ties to Japan. The album's cover is inspired by NĂ´shi, a Japanese tradition of creating 3D artwork from paper. Adding further credence to this theory, the band kick things off with a track named 'Kamikaze', a song that in so ingrained in post-punk that it might as well have been released in 1981. The drums are snappy and sometimes electric, there's an ominous feel to the song and the guitars wail and play out shimmering, minimal riffs while vocals are harsh and bass is heavy. The tone has been set, and it's a tone they stick to, adding more interesting touches throughout the album but never really changing style; they simply don't need to.

If we look at other modern bands who've used post-punk and guitar music of that era as touchstones then we might think of Interpol, A Place To Bury Strangers or even The Horrors. On 'Everything I Touch Goes Wrong' they merge these bands together, creating that classic sound; it's one we're used to, yes, but with high quality songs like this that matters little, if at all. The cheerily-named 'The Grass Is Always Browner' is one of their strongest songs. They start simply but work the song into something more powerful. The vocal samples here fit perfectly, adding a new dimension to the track, and that includes those that aren't in English; in fact us not speaking the lingo of some of them only serves to enhance the effect. This track is a total winner. Seventeen At This Time play around with the funky, new-wavy side of post-punk on the interestingly-titled 'Angela Merkel', another song that's full of samples of speech.

Moodier and starker is 'Holly', a thumping and dark track that only begins to lighten thanks to some piano later on. The guitars buzz quietly in the background. Another one not to be missed is 'Angel', possible single material with a lighter sound and a percussive jangle. However, hot on its heels comes 'Le Charme Discret de la Bourgeoisie', an electro-rock track of the highest order. We'll let the two battle it out for bragging rights. There's an air of mystery about final track 'Bobby Beausoleil' and it ends the album in much the same way as it began. Although 'Tokkoubana' contains just eight songs, you're not being sold short, as none of them are below par and half of them pass the five minute mark, so length isn't compromised either and the album clocks in at a reasonably average 38 minutes. Even more reason to put this album on your shopping list is the fact that those 38 minutes contain some truly wonderful music and innovative touches. Double thumbs up from us.

Seventeen At This Time's website

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