Sound: It's a bittersweet thing when an album you've been anticipating for so long arrives with the knowledge that it will be the last. Amesoeurs decided to split up way back in June 2008; initially the breakup was effective immediately, however they overcame their bizarrely publicised inner conflicts to record their first and last full length. Despite never being a particularly secretive band, the mystique surrounding Amesoeurs and their concept has not dwindled in the two and a half years since the widely acclaimed EP Ruines Humaines'; the music is still bleak, desperate and bitter.
Despite mastermind Neige's claims that Amesoeurs are a pure post-punk band and that the black metal tracks on Ruines Humaines' were only featured as leftover tracks from when he left BM act Mortifera, it is clear that the raw black edge is far from gone, penetrating the sound's post-punk core. Most of the songs centre on the magnificent chemistry between bass and guitar, as well as the compellingly forlorn clean vocals of Audrey Sylvain, but the black scorn of tracks like Trouble (Eveils Infames)' provide fantastic food for thought, with the two styles having such contrast in sound yet such symbiosis in mood and atmosphere. // 9
Lyrics: It's funny that an instrumental track could summarise so aptly the feel of a concept album already explained in words, but opener Gas In Veins' absolutely hit's the nail on the head. Almost an opposite to Neige's other main project, the post-bubblegum-ponies-haribo-gaze Alcest, Amesoeurs sends out a message of complete and utter despair over the state of urban life and modern society. Angsty, huh? While that highly abridged description may paint the concept as one done many times in the past, I've never seen it done with such compassion before. The album is sung in French, so any and all artistic lyrical merit has to be lost to blunt destruction at the hands of Babelfish. However what I can gather tells me that the lyrics are along the lines of those from Ruines Humaines'; that is, they are excellent.
Vocal duties are split 70:30 between Audrey Sylvain and Neige, with the latter's bone-dissolving shrieks only really finding their place on a few occasions. The clean female vocals, however, are frequent and yet never misplaced. Sylvain's performance on Faiblesse Des Sens' was one of the main appeals of Ruines Humaines', and while she has stepped up her game in some regards (that famous scream being overshadowed by parts of Heurt' and La Reine Trayeuse' that one can only presume are audio reconstructions of some kind of bestial orgy), not every performance comes across as inspired, or even connected to the music. Still, it is not of detriment to the record as a whole. // 9
Overall Impression: The piano interlude I XIII V XIX XV V XXI XVIII XIX IX XIX IV V I IV' code for aI suppose says it all. The distant melancholia and it's relation to the name can only suggest that the demise of the band is far from ideal for anyone involved. When a release like this becomes so hyped with only a 15 minute EP as a reference point, it is going to be difficult to please everyone. Amesoeurs' is not a consistent album; the occasional patchiness of La Reine Trayeuse' and acan only sit alongside the perfection of tracks like aand Les Ruches Malades'. Clearly though the good outweighs the bad, making Amesoeurs' at least an acceptable, if not satisfying end to a band who had such great potential. // 8
- Duncan Geddes aka duncang (c) 2009