We Insist! - The Babel Inside Was Terrible
Exile on Mainstream Records
Progressive Rock, Jazz
11 songs (48:00)
Release year: 2009
We Insist!, Exile on Mainstream Records
Reviewed by Goat

After their very impressive 2008 album Oh! Things Are So Corruptible, something that I enjoyed so much it made my top 15 list here at MetalReviews.com, I was eager to see what the Frenchmen would produce next, and the result is a great album, building on the strengths of its predecessor, removing the slightly repetitive feel and crafting a release full of great songs. It’s technical without being obnoxious, melodic without being shallow, complex enough to require repeated listens yet generous enough to reward the listener – it is, in fact, all that modern Rock music should be, taking as much from the Jazzier end of the spectrum as it does from the likes of Tool and King Crimson. Frankly, it kicks the ass of Oh! Things Are So Corruptible, being more nuanced and more mature, the quirky vibe of the band having progressed from the crowdpleasing style of before and is now focused on craft, creating songs rather than just tracks.

Make no mistake, We Insist! are much less immediately catchy than before, which is probably the first thing that fans will notice, but stick with it, as this album rewards the time given tenfold. Moments like the upbeat Efficiency And Bad Habits veer all over the place and take multiple listens just to absorb, but are so well-crafted and listenable that you find yourself oddly addicted. If I had to sum the band up on this album, it would be as a subtler, more French, plain-Jazzier The Mars Volta (I’m sure that The Babel Inside Was Terrible will appeal to fans of that band that don’t mind the missing Latin sections) as We Insist! share some of the Americans’ taste for grandiosity (In A Maze, for instance).

Overall, though, this is surprisingly original at times, never afraid to rock out (the groovy Custom Device) or go off into some strange, meandering territory (Thoughtful Anatomy, complete with odd bursts of electronics). Those few (come on, there must be some of you out there!) who enjoyed the last album from Ephel Duath will certainly dig tracks like Dead Dog, making probably the best usage of saxophone on the album, as often it’s noodling away merrily in the background and is hard to pick out, but it’s a vital part of the band’s sound and the frequent solos are great.

This is one of those albums that is best experienced as a whole, and as such discussing individual tracks is only of so much use. Jazz-Rock of this distinctly noodly variety is hardly something that everyone will enjoy, but if you like your Rock leftfield and Jazz-ridden, then We Insist! make a delightful racket. It’s a little early to give The Babel Inside Was Terrible top marks, but it’s certainly worth a listen, and will be in my playlist for a good long while to come.

Killing Songs :
Deja Vu, Oakleaves, In A Maze, Dead Dog
Goat quoted 86 / 100
Other albums by We Insist! that we have reviewed:
We Insist! - Oh! Things Are So Corruptible reviewed by Goat and quoted 90 / 100
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