Les Discrets - Septembre et Ses Dernières Pensées
Post-Black Atmospheric Shoegaze
10 songs (43'11")
Release year: 2010
Reviewed by Alex
Surprise of the month

Les Discrets have to be considered as their own separate entity, but I find myself bringing up associations with Alcest from the outset, despite how not fair it may be. I just can’t help it, knowing how much the two entities are interwoven. From both being French to sharing members (Winterhalter on drums) to split albums on the same label (Prophecy Productions) to the timing of their most recent full-length releases. Further, Fursy Teyssier, the mastermind of Les Discrets is more than a musician, but also a filmmaker and an artist, responsible for Alcest cover art on Écailles de Lune. Yet, most pertinently, both projects exist in the similar post-black atmospheric shoegaze corner of the universe creating cinematic enveloping sounds.

Thus I should be forgiven if I invoke comparisons to Écailles de Lune while discussing Septembre et Ses Dernières Pensées. Despite somewhat different stylistic approaches towards creating their art, both projects manage to build a fantastically convincing atmosphere of feel-good and hope. While Alcest does it by wrapping the listener in the seamless stretchy euphoric fabric with Neige’s anguished vocals traversing above the sound, Les Discrets are certainly more structured, more song- and riff-oriented, if you wish, a bit more traditional and less “out there” with Fursy’s vocals appearing totally human, that of a dreamy romantic.

Les Discrets stack up an impressive layering of various kinds of guitars, with acoustic strumming and Katatonia circa Discouraged Ones riff patterns mixed in between (L'échappée). At times simpler radio-friendly rock (title track), with a twist of tribal mystique (Sur les quais), rarely dissonant with an alarmist siren blaring in the midst (Effet de nuit), Les Discrets is trying to prove with Septembre et Ses Dernières Pensées that metal (or post-metal) does not have to be all about negativity. Inspired in equal parts by nature, real love in this world and soul’s passing on the way out of it, Les Discrets music exudes eternal optimism, even if the dream is somewhat tarnished on the rainy day (Song for Mountains) or soul-searching pining takes over (Chanson d'automne). The best example of this sweeping feeling on the album for me is exemplified in Les feuilles de l'olivier, where synth melody next to just heavy enough guitars and buried double bass, flies by almost deliriously optimistic.

It is absolutely worth saying that no matter how much pro-melody Les Discrets music is, the musicians do not achieve their goals with simple cheesy one-two notes tunes. They are not afraid to emphasize rhythmic structures before slipping into folk-inspired acoustic drift (Svipdagr & Freyja), or be rather progressive and complex with their percussion (Une matinée d'hiver). Throughout it all, however, the triumph of positivism makes Septembre et Ses Dernières Pensées a perfect soundtrack to upcoming spring and the bright sunny days we have been experiencing here for the last week. Well, the soul of the artist may be a mystery and what I read in Les Discrets is my own unfounded interpretation, but I would love to remain in the delusion I have built for myself with this album.

Definitely not to be thought of as a companion album to Écailles de Lune, those who enjoyed the pastoral gentle framework of Alcest will be in for a treat with Les Discrets. True artist as he is, Septembre et Ses Dernières Pensées will also be released as a 56-page art book edition containing numerous illustrations and background information as well as Fursy Teyssier's award-winning short film Tir Nan Og on DVD.

Killing Songs :
L'échappée, Les feuilles de l'olivier
Alex quoted 88 / 100
Other albums by Les Discrets that we have reviewed:
Les Discrets - Ariettes Oubliées reviewed by Alex and quoted 83 / 100
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