ALCEST  Souvenirs D'un Autre Monde  LP   (Hyperrealist Records)   15.98

Back in stock once again!

The US vinyl version of Souvenirs seemed to go out of print almost as soon as it was announced, and I was only able to get a couple copies of it. Released by Hyperrealist in a limited edition of 1000 copies, this domestic pressing has the same artwork as the European LP release on Northern Silence (which is itself different from the CD release), and the copies we have are on black vinyl.

When Souvenirs d'un autre monde (which translates to "Memories Of Another World") came out in late 2007, it seemed really weird that the most beautiful rock album of the year (in my mind) came to us by way of the French black metal underground. Looking back, I've heard alot of other equally beautiful, very un-black metal albums come out of the black metal scene, but Alcest's latest full length is still one of the best, and one of the few albums to really take me back to the height of the whole UK dreampop/shoegaze scene that I grew up with. Souvenirs... is a perfect pop record, totally immersed in delicate jangly melodies and gorgeous blasts of shoegazey distortion and utterly removed from the blissed-out black metal shred of Ameseours, which is the other band that Neige from Alcest plays in. No, there are only the barest traces of metal found on this disc, heard in the super-distorted speedpicked guitars roaring down underneath the beautiful dreamy pop hooks and heartrending melodies, and in the occasional blasts of furious double-bass drumming that erupts here and there. For the most part, this is pure heavy shoegazer rock refashioned in a more distorted and epic form, much like how Justin Broadrick has taken early 90's shoegaze and molded that sound into the blissful grinding dreamsludge of Jesu, only here the sound is all dense layers of lush guitars and fragile fingerpicked acoustics, like My Bloody Valentine powered by a black metal drummer, or a heavier Chapterhouse or Catherine Wheel. All six songs here follow this route, awash in majestic swells of guitar and keyboards and dreamy vocal harmonies that evoke images of innocence and springtime. While Alcest's sound is drawn directly from early 90's shoegaze, those of you that are fans of the more atmospheric sounds of bands like Drudkh and Agalloch will likely love this album just as much as fans of Slowdive and My Bloody Valentine. Highly recommended! Comes in a full color digipack with booklet.