Alcest – Shelter (2014)

I love finding new music.[1]

Image from wikipedia

Today, it’s a French shoegaze band by the name of Alcest, with their recently released album Shelter.

Recommended to me through a facebook group that is causing me to spend far too much money,[2] I searched the web and discovered that the only (legal) online outlet available to me was iTunes.

Cue three days worth of fighting with iTunes.[3]

But, finally, this Saturday morning, I get to put on this recommended album.


Big beautiful walls of guitar sound.  Dreamy, layered vocals, shifting in and out of awareness.  The French lyrics adding to the feel of romance and disassociation. I wonder how this would sound if I actually, you know, spoke the language?

No matter, because right now not speaking French just eases my mind into hearing the smooth, husky, sometimes near inaudible vocals as just another layer into this vast shoegaze sound.

Its one of my favourite styles of rock music.  And I think I’ve just found a new favourite band.[4]

This album does the genre perfectly.  Subtly shifting up and down the tempo between (and within) tracks, adding or subtracting layers of guitar, vocals (and other instruments) to create a wash of sound that drags the listener in, draws them along, lulling them into a moment of peace before the next change of tempo or timbre catches the ear.

And it ends, as all albums full of big symphonic wall of sounds should do, on a big track that builds from a whisper-to-a-roar, before a final coda fade.

Lovely stuff.

Beer match:  It’s summer, so sitting out on the deck with company, with this sound washing over the scene would be perfect.  So a light-yet-complex summer ale would be great.  Try Northend’s Hoppy Wheat.  It’s hoppy, but they do something clever with the wheat – there’s body and sweetness, but no cloudiness either in the glass or on the palate.  Crisp, fresh and relaxing, just the thing that’s enjoyable but won’t distract you from sinking into this wall of sound.

[1] To be clear, “new music” means “new to me.”  I mean, what else could it mean. It’s not like I’ve written, recorded and produced every new musical sound that enters my head.

[2] But giving me so so much joy.

[3] Evening one – open iTunes to buy the album. Get a big nasty .dll error.  Day two, get home and try again, reinstalling iTunes first. Big “fuck off” errors get even worse.  Day three, do the step-by-step uninstall of EVERY FUCKING APPLE PRODUCT, reinstall iTunes, finally get to SPEND MY MONEY.  However, iTunes now won’t rip or burn CDs. For fucks sake.

[4] Just for the record, I have a lot of favourite bands.


2 thoughts on “Alcest – Shelter (2014)

  1. heheh yeah it’s a whole bunch of win this album. the previous one is also quite lovely, but has some cookie monster vocals in it (which I like) but Shelter is the better of the two. I haven’t heard the first two albums, yet…

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