A surprising yet very welcome return for Rien Virgule – one of Europe’s most idiosyncratic bands, served up on a mighty double disc gatefold LP via zamzamrec –

Alongside names such as: Heimat, Nina Harker and France Sauvage, Rien Virgule are at the forefront of a larger movement within the French underground. This movement has no name, no restraints and no clear agenda other than to inject bold new ideas and perspectives into the realms of post-punk, psychedelia and industrial music.

RV have released two near-perfect LPs to date; 2015’s ‘Trente Jours À Grande Échelle’ and 2019’s ‘Le Couronnement Des Silex’. Stop what yr doing and go get them in yr ears, really couldn’t ask for much more from a band. They’ve managed to carve out a fresh din, an amalgamation (or distillation) of familiar elements into something mystical and enchanting.

Masters of melodrama, their signature sound is a tale of theatrics and dynamics, tension & release, rise & fall, the brutal and the brittle. Despite practically no direct references to the tired genre and its tropes, to my ears this is the most original Goth group in a generation.

This third LP ‘LA CONSOLATION DES VIOLETTES’ (or ‘The Solace of Violets’) is born from tragedy. We were devastated to hear of Jean-Marc Reilla crossing the veil, shortly after the release of the last LP. His contributions were crucial to their unique sonic identity, his wrangling of scrap metal and broken glass cementing their atmosphere of crushing dread and impending doom. So our heart did truly flutter when we discovered the remaining trio of Mathias Pontevia, Anne Careil & Manuel Duval had managed to pick up the shards and march on, honouring the departed by creating their most sprawling and far-reaching release to date.

Careil’s vocals are ever-despaired, nigh-on operatic. An otherworldly siren-call that hits you as if she is bellowing a grave warning, beamed in from a parallel universe. Surely one of the most captivating and convincing vocalists operating in the DIY underground. The instrumentation is still typically Virgulian; impossibly epic and fantastical compositions that are no less than Biblical in their scope (Old Testament of course!). Effervescent synths, mechanical industro-rhythms, concrète conjurations and ballistic FX’d percussion are their forte, though there are some new territories explored. Warbling organ keys add an air of a religious sermon to their repertoire, whilst sometimes shifting into a surreal, haunted fairground soundscape.

Definitely one to be consumed in a single sitting. Fire up the sage and enter another realm…

Shoutouts to comrades ZAMZAMREC for another magical release (in collaboration with La République des Granges, Permafrost and Murailles Music).

Side A
1. “Apache”
2. “La Consolation Des Violettes”
Side B
1. “Tambour De Nacre”
2. “L’ogresse Amoureuse”

Side C
1. “Radio Embryon”
2. “Le Cri Du Typographe”
3. “Huso Huso”
Side D
1. “Ficedula Parva”
2. “Toque De Clous”
3. “L’errance Des Murs”

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