“Recorded on analogue tapes by Steve Albini.” When I see something like that on a cover of a CD I anticipate lots of feedback or at least some sort of audio drudgery. So you can imagine my disappointment when I found out that Chevreuil was actually a Don Caballero-esque jazz/math instrumental two piece from France. I mean, they do get kinda loud on Chateauvallon but most of it keeps at the heady math rock and jazz end of the stick (Ahleuchatistas are probably one of the most exciting bands making this kind of music today). Unfortunately, to these ears Chevreuil end up sounding somewhat tame and not very provoking, even while hanging with their coveted Mr. Steve Albini.
A lot of Chateauvallon sounds the same although this should come as no surprise to those who are familiar with the genre. There are some distinguishable moments of originality though. Notably, the first track starts things off with some decent keyboard synth experimentation while Steve provides percussion. The following nine and a half minute beast “Turbofonte” is, at its length, a pretty good song with shifting dynamics. “Baseball Player” also stands out in my mind as it is the only track with audible human lungs; some guy yells a few “yeah’s!” and “whoo’s!” in the background until things fade back into the very competent instrumentation. The album’s big finale comes during the second to last song “Forteresse Courage” which keeps things interesting by providing some of the catchiest music on the record. Closer “Rauturo” surprises totally—it is an ambient track and it ends things on a very quiet and serene note. Not a bad album—I just wish they’d tossed in a few more surprises.
- Andrew Iliadis
/sept 1st 2005/