Daily Dose: ‘Away’ by Alcest

Alcest, originating from of Bagnols-sur-Cèze (about three or four hours from where I am now), have made some truly fantastic music. I first encountered them at an Opeth gig a year or two ago, where they were the unassuming support act, and I enjoyed them practically as much as the main event. Their album of that period, Les Voyages de l’Âme (2012), is a brilliant bit of shoegazey (post) metal, and the album this track is from, Shelter (2014), combines those elements into an even more-post rock dreamy package. Think French metal Mogwai and you won’t be too far from the reality, and your enjoyment of the more modern stuff they’ve put out as a band depends on how comfortable you are with that assessment. As you might have guess, I’m a big fan, and I love that they’re (I understand that they operate as a duo in the studio) are comfortable enough in what they do and trying different sounds that they are happy to let songs relax and have space if they feel that’s what is needed. This song is unlike the majority of their work in that it is sung in English, but it’s so lovely and relaxing with the gentle controlled drift of a summer day, tempered by the layering of smooth vocals and guitar. It features Neil Halstead, he of Slowdive, presumably on vocals, which may explain the language shift, and he does a pleasant turn that fits in well with the ambient, textured guitars of the band. I’m a big fan, and I think you’d really struggle to dislike this music, although I appreciate that metal inspired post-rock/shoegaze may not be for everyone. Give this song a whirl if you’re in the mood for something that isn’t too aggressive and insistent, but more of a gentle sweep through time and space, if they were both feeling pretty easy-going and pleasant.

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