Les Disques Du Crépuscule
I love it when modern bands are so well-versed in the styles that they emulate that they could pass for a long-lost vintage model. When I first heard of Les Panties, I noted that their album Cold Science was released via Les Disques du Crepuscle, which instantly made me think that this was some obscure Belgian new wave/post-punk band. I then listened to the song on offer, “Velvet,” and I was transported back to the era when Martin Hannett walked the Earth, Factory Records* was solvent, and music of this sort was commonplace. The dreamy melodies and haunting vocals of lead singer Sophie Frison reminded me of Xmal Deutschland, and I was hooked.
Imagine my surprise, then, when I realized that this “lost” band actually wasn’t!
Further listening didn’t disappoint, either. The heady groove of “The Gate” and “Westie” are intoxicating, the bass-heavy “Diving” and deliciously synthy “Factory” evoke dancing by yourself in a dark, clove cigarette-heavy bedroom, while the two versions of “L’arivvee” are smart, compelling pop numbers. If there’s one lesser moment to be found, it’s “Porkshop,” a song with a great melody but a rather hokey vocal that made me cringe. But that’s one moment out of ten; 90% is a pretty damn good ratio, and considering it was their debut single, it’s a stumble that’s quickly forgivable. That’s the beauty of singles; you can grow as an artist and still release music, so that when it comes time for a full-length, you’ll have gotten the lesser material out of your system, and yes, mid-80s Goth-pop often had moments best left lost to posterity.
So kudos to Les Panties for making music that sounds so vintage, it had me fooled! I’m not sure if the band is still active, but Cold Science is one helluva impressive debut album, and one that should not be missed; if there’s new music coming, then I cannot wait to hear it.
*Joke’s on me; they were never solvent.
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