Saturday, October 12, 2013

Les Modules Etranges – Socially Awkward (2012)

Les Modules Etranges 
Socially Awkward 

“Socially Awkward” (2012) is the newest release of French Electro Post-Punk act Les Modules Etranges. The band’s creativity and strong personality quickly raised interest amongst dark music lovers, and although this interest has increased consequently with each new album, the band recently announced that it has officially split, so we are talking here of what will be LME’s last full-length album. With “Socially Awkward”, LME  is once more exploring new paths. The punk energy is unarguably still here, but the overall experience feels less gloomy than the previous “Turmoil”. Some danceable -more “jumpable”- tracks, and the extensive use of computers give the listener a gasp of fresh air now and then, while a distinctive taste for  zombie-movies samples create a somehow playful atmosphere. “Fire” , “Brother Beware”, are speeded up tracks where the band shows this more upbeat side. On  the catchy “You.Me.Intercourse”, Azia’s vocals are flirtatious, demonstrating there’s more to her voice than screaming and shy complaints. The frantic “Drawkwa” is an ode to the socially awkward (great lines such as “Posers! Liars! Normal People! Fuck Off!” ) and “Dweller on the Threshold” bring to mind scenes of sci/fi B-movies.

That being said, it is clear that there is also a very dark side to “Socially Awkward”. The first track,”Arya” feels like a “darkwave” nightmare: While children are playing in the background, gradually increasing beats sound like menacing machines (got reminded of Sarah Connor’s “nuclear nightmare”).  “No one is safe” starts with a soft melody, slowly changing into a scary industrial theme. “Misanthropy” is a dark, deathrock track with oversaturated guitars taking you to the edge of madness.  

Other highlights on the album are the amazing “Sick tribe”, simple and effective guitar riff, vocals pushed to the limit: “Join the madness, join the tribe”!!!  “Surgery Girl” is a gem, throbbing vocals, metronomic drum machine… And “Trapped” is a great cover of Internal Autonomy.

The album finishes with a demented mash up of Jefferson Airplane’s “White Rabbit” and Crimson Muddle’s “Unsteady”, and a featuring of Crimson Muddle on the quieter “Drives”.

As a whole, the album is a great opportunity to let your imagination run wild. It is fun, full of energy, colors and atmospheres like a kaleidoscope album, but keeping a resolute loyalty to the raw and brutal aspects of old school post punk, and a rebellious punk attitude. While LME’s members go different directions, they have left us with very interesting and exciting albums, and “Socially Awkward” is no exception.   

Guillaume Renard