[sic] Magazine

Volage – Heart Healing

The French, so they say, like their rock ‘n’ roll in English as that’s its native tongue. Of course it’s easier to market yourself outside of l’Hexagone that way too. Ragtag four-piece Volage (translation: adulterous, fickle or untrustworthy) are on a mission with their solid, self-produced debut LP Heart Healing, aiming it not just for the English-speaking market but also squarely for the more specific Ty Segall market. Said garage-psyche whirlwind has, it’s fair to say, now reached full penetration. His tight songcraft, trademark fuzz and stabbing melodies are all so easily recognisable he’s practically the scene’s sun around which many a satellite orbits. He’s, of course, not the most unique of artists all the same. It’s his prolificacy and enthusiasm that let him ride all those borrowed riffs so easily.

What comes around goes around and, all things considered, it’s little surprise then that Segall now has his own, unofficial tribute band across the water in France. Heart Healing so strongly aligns with this year’s Manipulator the guys may as well be displaced siblings. The two have even toured together and working out exactly who rubbed off on whom may be a dream best left to the most die-hard of garage groupies. So, while the pair’s swirling 60s/70s Beatles-esque charm is difficult to parse, Volage do have a choppy romp or two of their own and they come when they stop trying to be someone else. There’s pleasing piano and organ work, for example, that adds a woozy, postprandial wobble to the fuzz, slow choruses such as the one in the King Tuff-esque “Touched By Grace” vary the tempo and light keyboard-drone brings texture. Who are we kidding though? We’re here for the bratty and the sludge and punk-pop odyssey “Loner” duly provides the goods as does the punishing sting in “This Ain’t A Walk”’s tail.

Much of Heart Healing does, however, lack the bite or the balls to truly descend into the gnarly or Nuggets. Volage do know how to make music that appeals and their catchy harmonies have the potential to sell. They now just need to be more consistent in finding some sounds of their own to explore in order to make them sing – no matter the language.

~Heart Healing is out now on Howlin’ Banana Records.~