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PinioL - Bran Coucou CD (album) cover





4.00 | 117 ratings

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5 stars This writer usually tries to curb his enthusiasm when it comes to rating and reviewing new releases to allow for a cooling off period. It's not unusual to find myself coming to a slightly different conclusion about an album months, or even as short as weeks down the road . But the 2018 release of Piniol's debut album, Bran Coucou, demands attention. It has been eagerly anticipated by many in the RIO community. Unfortunately, I found myself in the dark regarding this release until quite recently. What a pleasant surprise to find out that this project was in the works.

Piniol is the conglomeration of French trio Poil, and French quartet Ni. For those familiar with the two source bands that comprise this ensemble it would come as no surprise that the sound produced by this project is large-and-in-charge. Poil's most recent album Brossaklit, contains an absurd density of music considering it's coming from just three players. Being only human, I find it absolutely impossible to not put expectations on something that I'm about to listen to when I have a known variable involved. But knowing how much sound Poil can generate made it virtually impossible to anticipate what I was in for with Piniol and the addition of Ni's performers. As I listen to the first half of the album, I did not fully grasp everything that was going on. I suppose this should not have been unexpected. For all the complexities of the musicianship in the aforementioned Poil album, there was quite a bit of it that was vocal driven. Bran Coucou has far more texturized vocal background than the in-your-face nature of Poil's vocals.

The sound is big and loud in most sections, but contains an astounding number of subtleties, particularly in the department of interwoven rhythms. I had commented elsewhere, partially tongue-in-cheek, that this was the album I've been waiting 20 years for Meshuggah to produce. Usually a comparison to that particular band will scare most people away. But it should be made clear that there's absolutely no vocal similarity and the opacity of instrumental distortion is comparatively quite subdued to allow clarity of instrumental rhythm complexity. And this is absolutely essential considering there are two drummers two bass players and two guitarist to go along with keyboards. No, this album is heavy, complex, and bone jarring, without all the grating aspects (growling, screaming or impenetrable distortion) of the compared to Swedes.

Bran Coucou is easily the best album the first half of 2018 and will be really tough for anything else to beat for the remainder of the year. It's the kind of album that's likely to remain in my play rotation for years to come. And extra credit for being my retroactive gateway to the works of Ni. Highly recommended.

Tapfret | 5/5 |


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