January 18, 2013

ALBUM REVIEW: Rebelle Fleur - The Blashuvec (2013)

It’s been years since I’ve enjoyed homegrown, visceral rock music that conveys exactly the perfect balance between raw frustration and emotional restlessness, that kind of uncontrollable throat-ripping vitriol that urges you to bang your head to the wall and find aural pleasure in rock’s mercilessly parodied noise and clichés. With only 3 5 tracks under it, Rebelle Fleur’s debut EP The Blashuvec picks up where The Replacements, Husker Du and Nirvana left off, redefining noise—all muscle and ragged psychedelics—into a nuanced mesh of authentic live sound and blistering sonic assault.

Rebelle Fleur’s loud, blustery sound doesn’t really offer anything new to the genre, but their uncompromising and masterful approach to music provides a complete contrast to the reliance of most 21st century indie rock to stylistic girth and laptop knobs. With authenticity upped at its arms length, The Blashuvec sounds like a work of pent-up aggression, of a real rock n’ roll fury bristling with energy, expertise and a whole lot of drunken machismo, one where you can actually hear strain and chaos find a comfortable niche in your loud speakers.

From the visceral blast of guitar squalls and alt rage on “Playing Cards” to the infectious, power-pop noise of “The Mailman,” Rebelle Fleur shows that they can be technically polished as they can also project an image of innocent kids running in the woods just for the fun heck of it. Leave it to producer/mixer Raphael Pulgar for extracting ways on how to pull off a fuller, aggressively raw sound devoid of tricks and glitchy effects processing. He knows this shit really well judging from the work he’s done for bands playing the loud kind, handling off-the-cuff mess with sustained burst and control, yet explodes in front of you without warning.

With that said, you can hear a lot of things going on Blashuvec in terms of range and risk-taking, with members of Rebelle Fleur coming full circle to what passes off as a great rock n’ roll band. Wait a sec, what does a great rock n’ roll band exactly mean, without name-checking the Led Zeps and the Stones of this rugged planet? Is it about channeling the recklessness of youth culture and ennui? Is it about the genuine level of technical fluency, the urge to play difficult, mathematical arrangements at the most sublime way possible? Or more than anything else, does it have to be all about translating personal life fuckeries into diarist sentiments people could read and play along? Sometimes, rock music isn’t about what makes it great. Sometimes it’s the looseness amidst curled screams and riffs that make it really work, driving to some place where hardly anyone can detect direction and security. This makes it  exciting and all the more, unpredictable to deal with. Rebelle Fleur’s Blashuvec gives you that kind of feeling. And hopefully, they’d be able to release a follow-up record in the similar vein ASAP. How about next month? B+ 

You can download Rebelle Fleur’s Blashuvec for free here.

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