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Pseu - Pseu CD (album) cover

PSEU

Pseu

 

Zeuhl

3.53 | 24 ratings

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Shakespeare
3 stars Defunct since 1983, Pseu, another French avant-garde Zeuhl group, released this album, lonely theirs, in 2004. Eliminating the alternative possibility, time travel, it's clear that somebody hunted these tapes down to release. In fact, there were two somebodies. The two Passyan brothers, leading their French band Minimum Vital (or Vital Duo), searched successfully for the Pseu master tapes, and subsequently released the suckers on the label they were signed, Musea. The band wasn't directly involved, to my knowledge, with the release and marketing of the album. Maybe this, accompanied by the knowledge it was recorded over a period of three years by, essentially, two different bands, steals the music of a personal aura, removes a vital fluency. Despite the lacking of warmness, and poor sound quality, the music is generally very well written and performed.

Expect another genuine maelstrom of intricacies, weaved tightly with an addictive groove, derived primarily from the phenomenal bass playing of Erik Baron. The flurry of jagged notes, protruding starkly from the bosom of the rhythm, dominate the initial track and the first Simulacre section, exported by both a uniquely sounding guitar, and a damp glockenspiel/xylophone. However, I suggest the finest on both scales of complexity and groove, the second track Satno Danse, wins the gold. Its totally seducing bass line, in what sounds to be a time signature 5.5/4, upheld by furious guitar and drums, proves it the highlight. Other tracks are great as well: many of them sinister in nature. Simulacre's second movement displays the dark potential of the band. Following this fourth track, though, the album slowly turns.

On the trio of long songs, vocals appear, and gradually grind to center stage. The first of the three, Vidance, begins as the early portion of the album had, with swift arrangements, but soon gives way to the agitated vocal work. The instruments still stand their ground very well, despite their prominence being challenged by the vocal chords of Christian Coutzac. However, once the second of the three long songs comes, I feel the album plummets and doesn't recuperate. The vocal work completely takes over, in a very mangled and psychotic light, leaving the instruments little to do but jam around a decent bass line, adding the occasional splash of subdued complexity or guitar solos. Not only do the final two tracks feel terribly rigid, and dragged, but they're subject to a far inferior sound quality, and a different line up! Fluency, already not in excess, is annihilated.

Despite Vidance working as a transition song between the quick-paced, condensed, complex rockers, to the stretched, tedious, long songs, the final two tracks deal a bit of a blow to the album. The vocal work is very jagged, and coupled with dreadful sound quality, taints the memory of the album's second half in a poor light. Regardless: up to Vidance, it is an extremely strong album, by no means essential, but worth exploring for the adventurous listener.

Shakespeare | 3/5 |

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