Is it too early for a Christmas reference? You know that scene in How the Grinch Stole Christmas where the Grinch loses his shit over all the fucking noise the Whos make on Christmas morning with their preposterous instruments? That’s how I felt listening to Conversation Avec Nuage Flou (released January 19th, 2019) by Nuage Flou. Euh, now I feel like an old man “you kids and your rock music!” But I will finish my point by saying this. I love just about everything that happened in the 90s musically, except Sonic Youth. Trust me I tried, but the overabundance of amp feedback, screechy guitars and infinitely repetitive rhythms drove me fucking nuts and Nuage Flou sound unmistakably similar to Sonic Youth.
I’ll admit I’m probably playing into the band’s intentions, much of noise rock/art rock is to shock and offend and Nuage Flou do that well. The guitars on “80” legitimately sound like a dentist appointment. Vocalist Eva Stone does a fantastic Kim Gordon, snotty and abrasive punk rock ramblings. I do very much enjoy the application of French and English vocals, though it’s often near impossible to make out the lyrics it does add to the chaotic, unpredictability of the band. Rhythmically Nuage Flou remind me tons of the post-punk era bands in the way that the bass pulses while the drums feel rigid. Joy Division leaned heavily into that style, Gang of Four as well, Wire. “Carnibal” plays very much into that style, that’s gotta be Stephen Morris on drums!?
Personally, I believe for a noise rock song to have any redeeming quality it must have an undeniable earworm hook, or an extremely melodic component buried somewhere within the chaos in the way that “Teenage Riot” does…you got me, I don’t hate all Sonic Youth. Aight, I’ll give you another example, Big Black’s “Kerosene,” six minutes most of which is repetitive and noisy, yet something keeps pulling you back in and demands you to listen again. Look if I knew exactly what it was, I’d be making all the forward-thinking music and that’s what Nuage Flou need to be striving towards for greater success. That said, listeners who take special pleasure in having their music drilled into their heads as they drown in a sea of noise will have a great time with this record.
Written by Lee Ferguson
*edited by Mike Milito