[sic] Magazine

Slift – La Planète Inexplorée

John Dwyer may be the current king of pogoing psych-punk, but he doesn’t own that sound. Whilst clearly indebted to him, fuzzy French trio Slift wisely focus on the full Oh Sees canon rather than dwelling on the most obvious stuff, finding their feet in the process the deeper their debut album goes down the rabbit hole. Taking the collaborative effort of no less than 5 (five!) labels to bring La Planète Inexplorée to life, brothers Jean (guitar) and Rémy Fossat (bass), along with drummer Canek Flores, here deliver an ambitious space-rock concept album and an altogether bold follow-up to last year’s ear-catching Space is The Key EP. That release hit the sweet spot between supercharged jangle and rusty riffs time and again, ray-gun distortion melting the face at every opportunity. Never afraid of a freak-out or going total kraut with needling repeats either, it was an otherwise heavy garage-psych statement built on a snarling vocal and supernova-smashing synths. Power pedals elsewhere had a knack of thrusting this molten craft off in the direction of the sun like country-mates Magnetix. And, first and foremost, La Planète Inexplorée remains a guitar lover’s album despite the wild trappings of tying it all in with the exploration of lands unknown. What keeps it exciting though is the constant sense of unease that comes with it all; will this select away-team lose a redshirt as part of their on-going mission? To be fair, it’s always a risk when these nine tracks wind themselves up so tightly that they might implode.

Dialling down the kraut in favour of fast-paced kosmiche, a reworking of an early track gets the project off the ground, “Heavy Road 2.0” ticking along quite nicely on a speedy groove, wild synths setting the thing ablaze and snotty, nasal vocals keeping themselves entertained with noodling FX before the lengthy track rounds out into a more muscular psych-rock statement. Seeking shelter from the cosmic storm, “Something In The Mist” initially seems to offer tranquillity, but its riffs get choppier and choppier as the port walls close in, the high-strung vocal reaching sanity-questioning levels at its peak. Hauling you out of this apparent haven comes distortion-based ripper “Doppler Ganger”, its buried melody dragging you along like a fishhook to the cheek. This trinity of tracks serve as La Planète Inexplorée’s initiation rite, tribal rhythms and maraca-style percussion announcing your arrival amidst the strange flora and fauna of this strange world during “Ant Skull”. An Amazonian oddity replete with weirdo samples and vocal squiggles echoed out to infinity, it proves a delightfully bout of exotica until Slift set their phasers to slash and burn all before them with another heavy onslaught of guitar distortion. Offering little let up, whirling guitars then absolutely crush the tail-end of “Fearless Eye” with a massive stomp and holler before fading out to ambient oscillations droning away in the void where a rival planet used to be. The title-track gives and it takes, throwing up huge pillars of guitar fuzz as its struggles with its guests’ arrival, eventually giving way to a verdant horizon, resistance ebbing out to animal-call woodwinds. It’s as if the titular planet is itself alive and Slift, playing the role of all mankind, are trying to tame it.

Best track: “Doppler Ganger”

~La Planète Inexplorée is out now via the collaborative efforts of Howlin’ Banana, Stolen Body Records, Six Tonnes De Chair, Rockerill and Exag’ Records.~