Alcest – Shelter

Two years on from the excellent Les Voyage De L’Âme, Neige finally sets aside his black metal influences to give carte blanche to the sunny emotionality of his more post-rock/shoegaze/dream pop vein. The new work, titled Shelter and out now via Prophecy, consists of eight shiny tracks that, instead of looking to Scandinavia, prefer to turn their gaze to Iceland (it is no coincidence that Birgir Jón Birgisson, the same man as Sigur Ròs, appears on the production). The warm and sunny flourish of Wings opens to the explosive dose of energy developed by Opale, which, between lively guitars, delicate and reassuring vocals, dreamy choruses and sparkling rhythm, envelops and conquers from the first listen. La Nuit Marche Avec Moi, equally emotional and involving, flows sinuously on guitar notes (with fascinating and never looming walls of sound behind it), while Voix Sereines, slower and more composed, slowly grows until it overwhelms in the finale, introducing the visceral and dense sound of the dreamy L’Eveil Des Muses. The sparkling bubbling of Shelter, on the other hand, between guitars and piano, creates an undeniable sense of security and tranquillity, leaving the more acoustic and calm sound of Away (Amiina and Neil Halstead of Slowdive appear as guests) to continue. The immense Delivrance, finally, with its ten minutes of crescendo guitars, gets under the skin and leaves no escape, keeping us listening motionless for its entire duration. Neige’s new path, not as predictable as one might have expected, leaves one stunned for a second, before conquering completely. The result is a different work than its predecessors: the positivity under the skin (which tried to explode in the previous records) is now explicit, warm and sunny. The comparison with Sigur Ròs is inevitable, but, although there are some points of contact, overall the impression is that we are moving in other directions. An excellent record. (Admin, MetalEyes 04/02/2014)

2014- Prophecy Productions