#7: Rev Rev Rev - 'Des Fleurs Magiques Bourdonnaient'
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This album opens with a curious whining sound that sounds similar to a cross between a bee, a kazoo, and a strange flying contraption. Which then blasts the listener right away into psychedelic shoegazer land by way of Italy. This first track works as a theme setter for the album, an anthem for what is to come.
'Des Fleurs Magiques Bourdonnaient' sticks to the tried and true first wave shoegaze formula of ebb and flow of energy, big sounding guitars, and moments of high energy and noise interspersed with intense mind boggling sound effects. It is this channeling of and nod to My Bloody Valentine/Jesus and Mary Chain/early shoegazer sound that works so well for that expansive and brain expanding affect, while they also put their own imprint on that classic sound.
The album both sounds like a classic upon first listen, but also grows on you. Over time it will become one of your favorites, like any memorably well-executed album by many bands. Rev Rev Rev also sound so exciting because they sound like they are holding back at times, and have room for improvement... but they aren't rushing their evolution, or stretching too far too quickly.
This results in a very mature sound, and some strong songwriting skills to go along with the beautifully warped music. There are pop sensibilities here as well as the know-how to make otherworldly sounds while keeping them under control, adding to the songs rather than masking them. And they do tend to keep piling on those sounds, if you listen closely. It may be subtle at times, but it is moving.
"Nightwine", "Traveling Westbound", and "We Can But Dream" take you on a night on the town in the summertime, each song blending into the next and creating fun. Then "Caffè" really turns things up and gives the listener something to hold onto, a destination of transcendency and beauty. "Je Est Un Autre" then shifts the album into a different direction, with lots of stuttering tremolo and a more mellow approach to end what is probably side 1 of the album.
It will be exciting to hear what this band does next, being that as good as it sounds, the music is so rich with texture and detail that a higher end production could reveal even more nuances. Everything is timed out so well that the album can fly by and hypnotize the listener at times, like on "A Ring Without An End". Things get a bit darker and even more intense on "Ripples". At least to my ear, this track sounds a bit more like another shoegaze pioneer, Loop, who offered a more plodding, bass heavy sound and tribal drumming. Plenty of tremolo here, too, have no doubt.
"Plymouth Morning" keeps the ever climbing feel of this album going, perhaps the heaviest and most psychedelic track yet. Another thing that makes this album so so so good is that it is perfectly sequenced and there are no filler tracks or anything, just good compositions and better yet, really cool sounds and effects, and even some synths. "Plymouth Morning" is a very hazy and twisting song above all the heavy psyche rock propelling it, quite the captivating track.
And yes, it gets even noisier and intense with track 10, "Blame", which is also one of the more classically catchy songs. Its fuzzed out glory recalls the first Jucifer album, which is a very high compliment. Midway through the song locks into a groove and almost sounds like an entirely different track, but still in key... and then it switches right back to the jagged buzz sounds and microwaves of the main parts of the song. Then, on "Just A Spot", the album levels off onto a plateau, and recalls all of what had just come before it, meanwhile employing the use of reverse reverb to beautiful effect.
Eventually even sitar sounds seep out of this superbly crafted album, which is both a work of brilliant rock and roll, and an exotic sounding alternative to the usual fodder you might hear on the radio. And then on the closing song, "Aloft", the band finally reaches its fully enlightened state. The guitars by this point sound like sonically manifested aurora borealis if they could be seen with the most gorgeous sunset in history. The rhythm section finally takes a break and just lets the sitars continue, the drums more in the background as the album rides out.
I would really like to rank this even higher than #7 but there are some albums coming up higher that had ridiculous amounts of work put into them, or prolific artists who released more than one album, as well as an even more out there but catchy shoegaze album that really grabbed me because of its over-the-topness... but it is good to have Rev Rev Rev around to show you how it is really done. They may not have quite the utterly insane levels of effects of some other nu-gaze bands, but they use what they have in very interesting and powerful ways, if a bit more subliminally than others.
So in closing, while this is a perfect collection of songs and a fine document of the band, I feel that it could have had an even more vivid and powerful production to capture the band's vision, and that they have the talent to be even more inventive and creative in the future by pushing their craft even further off the deep end. There are a few truly great shoegaze bands making music still, and this is definitely one of them. Cheers to Rev Rev Rev!