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La Main – La mélodie du sombre

by François Zappa

French project La Main became part of our lives in a very particular way: in a music forum, a friend with similar tastes was using the cover of L’heure De Salir as avatar, and a few days later, having a look at the catalogue of Unknown Pleasures Records, we saw where the image was taken from and without hesitating, bought the record. As we really liked it and as it has just been released, as soon as we could, we bought La mélodie du sombre. La Main is Joann Guyonnet’s project who, influenced by the French New Wave started his career with Ton Nom, a self-released album from 2012. A couple of years later, he released a covers EP and in 2015 Nous Ne Serons Plus Rien that together with the record previously mentioned and an acoustic one, complete his discography. You can buy and listen to it here.

La Main doesn’t do things the easy way: first they sing completely in French in this album, but also because they play a cold synth wave/ minimal synth with such density that it’s a miracle it can be contained in a single CD. And even like that, they managed to compose one of the best albums of the year.

When I start writing this text, an 11th of May in Madrid, the sky is completely dark and it has started raining. It seems like the weather reflected the atmosphere of the album. The LP starts with “Un Festin” with a slow cadence for a relatively gentle beginning but as cold as an ice cream. The album gets faster in “Et J’ai hurlé” with a martial rhythm that invites us to move although we could not be further from the dance floor. We find some heavy rhythms, almost industrial in “La Mélodie du sombre”, a somber track that manages to transmit a sense of loneliness and abandon rarely found in modern music. One of the best tracks of the album. “Silence” follows the same sad and dramatic path, although the song gets faster almost at the ending with an incredible work of the synths. “Dans Le Coin” with its changes of rhythm has the energy of post-punk but manages to keep our blood cold. 

We arrive to what would have been the B-Side with “Le Goût Du Sang” that has a beautiful melody and at the same time is a peak in the art o melancholy. In “Caché Sous le Draps,” we found some mournful keyboards that sound like those of the organ of a church. The album is coming to an end and it gets faster again in “Vif,” one of the few furious moments of the album. “Plus Le temps” is full of drama, especially thanks to the synths. “Cet Hiver” tells you from the name that this is a cold winter album, as you did not get it after these nine pieces of frost. For a Spaniard, this song sounds really French, with that stark passion that seems to be coming from the chanson and has been kept alive in the glacial. La Main has delivered an album to listen to with calm with time, a record that will be remembered as one of the most interesting things of this awful 2020.

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