At RMR we believe in the trve power of cover art. It can generate bouts of clairvoyance or feisty comments, whichever comes first. Or both, with any further careless and dangerously politically incorrect appendices you might want to add for good sport.1) It can also be the sole reason to purchase an album, believe it or not. Jump into that misty sonic void with reckless abandon? Quite so.
Tranzat here did this to us. Or more precisely, the cover for their strangely named new record Ouh La La is the actual culprit. So, whilst we looked in shock at this picture of weirdly clad dudes with crazed stares, all sorts of inappropriate jokes formed in our mutual brains. And the band must have drugged their band dog because furface’s gaze here looks as feverish as the rest of ’em. And why do I suddenly have those unsettling visions of well-groomed guys in gold-rimmed glasses, pink Lacoste shirts, and tight white shorts on luxury island resorts? Hannibal the cannibal ‘outre-mer’-style2) on a mission, like.
Well, it’s probably that psychedelic setting this French band presents itself in. Glaring whites and shirts in 50 shades of light pink. You’ll never know what they’ll do to you once they get you alone. But it does fit right in with the offering Tranzat throw at you.
Ouh La La sports a sturdy brand of Psychedelic and Heavy Rock with abundant splurges of many metals carelessly thrown in for good measure. A brand that contains enough prog, alt, and experimental stuff to please the (not so) delicate ears of the adept of the unhinged. But at the same time, it will never make you forget what it wants to be.
In a way, the record sounds like the worst nightmare the often austere and somewhat cerebral dissidents of the dirty motel might suffer through during sweaty nights. Can’t lose that much control, now can we? Unsettling hallucinations of Gojira late at night after they shed their climate warrior body armor for the day. Weirdly chanting stuff they won’t remember later after they overdosed on too much blue Maine lobster and white Beaujolais.3) And what ever happened to good, old Sancerre, by the way?
And you know what? The RMR deck crew expected some ethereal chanting to take over and annoy us to death. New-age Post Metal style, like. And there may be some of that at odd moments. But luckily, Ouh La La roars off with something that sounds like someone’s tech metal machine just exploded. And then settles into powerful Heavy Rock that just made us lean back and enjoy. Shall We Dance this first blurb is called and we’re not sure why. But never mind, right? It’s psych after all.
Tranzat here indeed sail way out there in the wide-open Atlantic. Quite oblivious to style and man-made convention, they gallivant straight over everything that the esteemed metalhead or rock acolyte may hold dear. Broken toes and hurt egos be damned. So, they freely serve themselves from any piece of jetsam or flotsam that modern music may cough up. Mix well, and throw all that up onto a board like so many rune sticks.
And out comes Ouh La La. Because this is about the only exclamation that comes to mind once you hit the second track on the album. Lobster Beaujolais fascinated the hell out of us. A delicious gluttony of ambient, excellent prog, majestic chanting, strange screams, and other sins. All of that on an alternating wild foundation of rock and metal. And hot damn, this one made us want to go see them live if only to observe them perform bodily functions on stage. If King Emmanuel of France will let us measly foreigners in, of course. The Pandemick Panick and other severe issues of realpolitik are still in full swing as we write this. And the king is angry, you see.
Now, all those garishly colored theatrics apart, there’s excellence afoot. Manuel Liegard‘s hollers, screams, rasps, grunts, and clears are always – and I mean always – perfectly placed and never collide with anything but perhaps themselves at times. Boy, even the monologues and crazed speeches are right in line with everything. In addition, Benjamin Arbellot‘s and Liegards‘ guitars often surge forward with some excellent riff, lick, or solo. Just to make way to some angry bass wielded by Nicolas Galakhoff. And the drums seem to welcome the second coming of the bizarre. Thomas Coïc perfectly encapsulated the mood of the moment. So, Tranzat is manned by a band boasting some exceptional musical craftsmanship. All of that sails on minutely precise songwriting and a pretty cool production. Ouh La La all over again.
So, what other nuggets are there? The Climbing Tibetan Mountains thing dazzled us with some meditation until this fake Gojira stomp kinda takes over again. Lord Dranula‘s downturned chugging almost gave us heartburn with its colorful overdose of – well – everything. But the battle cry of – and I quote – “…oh my dear washer will you marry me…” brought out the worst instincts in the usually sincere reviewer committee over here. Visions of indecent acts with The Machine, debauchery high on powdery detergent, and cleaning liquid. What saves My Dear Washer from the wastebin is its start on an Extreme Metal beat close to Rotting Christ complete with some insane metallics later. But Tranzat also boasts a serious side, complete with some excerpts of good ol’ Charlie Chaplin on Global Warning. Well, kind of.
Ouh La La indeed, right? So, for those who do not quite fancy the purgatory of the unhinged, this record might not be for you. But all others will thoroughly enjoy a voyage into the abject depths of whatever disturbingly colorful and loud objects Dr. Bizarro here can rock to the surface. RMR himself always thought that all that psych, alt, and experimental rock and metal stands for has already been sampled on the ‘zine. Well, on this day, we declare that this is far from true. Tranzat and their latest record are living proof to the contrary.
This record rivals the ultimate weirdo award that shipwrecked on our shores earlier last year. And that’s quite a feat. We stand corrected.
Ed’s note: If you liked this, then you might fancy the folks at Dirty Sound Magnet, too.