Album: Things That Were Lost In The Fire
Release Date: 16/10/2020
Let’s change pace a little and look at Hifiklub’s collaboration with Roddy Bottum, with their latest release Things That Were Lost in the Fire released on October 16th through both Toolong Records and Dreamy Life Records.
This happens to be the second Hifiklub release that we’ve reviewed so we’re already very familiar with them and their extensive body of work. However, for those of you who aren’t, Hifiklub are a French experimental collaborative trio hailing from Toulon France. Since their formation in 2006 they have worked with well over 150 artists which is an extremely impressive feat but makes total sense when you see how prolifically they release music.
The core members of the band are Pascal Abbatucci Julien (drums and percussions), Jean-Loup Faurat (guitar and effects) and Régis Laugier (bass, vocals). This is of course a collaboration album, so on this release we also have Nico Morcillo on guitar and the man with the golden voice Roddy Bottum (former bass player and keyboardist/pianist of Faith No More and Imperial Teen) who on this album handles vocals, synthesizers and piano.
Hifklub and Roddy Bottum met in New York while the trio were working on In Doubt, Shadow Him! (their album and film with Lee Ranaldo of Sonic Youth). After recording some material together it was agreed that a full length offering would be created with the direction of a tightly formatted pop trance album. The release was recorded in one day in the basement of a nightclub basement and was produced by Anthony Belguise.
The release comes in at just over 38 minutes and includes 10 tracks, averaging between 3 and 5 minutes in length. Overall, the album has some truly experimental aspects and is a truly unique take on pop trance, combining it with what is essentially spoken word music. Its a hard one to explain without a person having listened to it first, but I’m going to try my best.
The album opens with David Says, which is an upbeat indie style track with some lo-fi elements. The spoken word vocals kick in almost immediately after the guitar gives us some truly catchy tunes. The bass work on this track us fantastically audible. Roddy’s vocals are oddly sensual and soothing and bring a ridiculous amount of atmosphere and mood to the release.
Track 2 Seandelear honestly feels like spoken word poetry but is also simultaneously a story being told. The instrumental work on the album is fantastic and somewhat remind me of Slint, just in the way that they’re so minimalistic and yet carry so much emphasis and character. The song tells a tragic story of a woman with ongoing back luck and misfortune. Again, I really have to emphasize how much I enjoy the guitar work on this track, its just fantastic and pairs so well with Roddy’s incredibly smooth vocals.
Track 3 Medicine Dream is possibly a tie for my favourite track on the album with track 2. This one is just so steeped in atmosphere and its catchy as hell, the word smooth is also an understatement for describing the overall energy of this song. This is the most heavily steeped in synthesizer and effects so far on the album. This is also probably my favourite performance from Roddy on the album, he’s just flawless on this track.
Track 4 I Mean features some fantastic guitar work, which as with the other songs on the album pairs perfectly with the fantastic vocals presented on the track. There’s a great unison between the guitar and bass on this track and I think it’s that interchanging focus of the song on both bass and guitar that makes it such an engaging listen. At around 1:25 the song really picks up and the guitar becomes even more powerful, really leading the song.
I have too much to say about this album so I’m not going to cover EVERY track and instead I’ll jump ahead a little so that we aren’t here all day. With that in mind let’s look at track 7, because I can’t review an album with an artsy and experimental cover of Eye of the Tiger and not discuss it. This is honestly such a fantastic cover and the main reason is that unlike soooo many cover versions of songs, this collaboration doesn’t feel bound by the rhythm and energy of the original track, but rather completely change it to suit their album’s energy and style, creating what is essentially a whole new unique song in the process.
The tracks that I haven’t mentioned are all also worth listening to, so make sure to listen to the entire album in full if you’re able to. the songs that I chose to discuss just happened to be my favourites on the release. Overall, this is a fantastic collaborative effort from everyone involved and is unlike anything else that I’ve listened to before. So, take some time out of your day and give this a spin or two.
Listen to the full album below: