Considering how much I love music, the memories I can remember around the first time I heard something are few and far between. Maybe it’s age, my poor addled brain taken up with too many other bits to properly remember where I was the first time I heard a band. Point being, I can’t recall the exact moment I first heard Alcest, but I can recall the exact feeling I had, because it hits every time I put on Écailles de lune.
I don’t want to make this a review; rather I want to just briefly put down what strikes me about the record. Like how it opens, that gorgeously simple melody starting clean and then bursting forth with the distortion and drums but without losing an ounce of that melancholic beauty. How so much of what works for me is this nostalgic drone that recall for me what the Cure can do in their best moments, and how Neige’s fragile vocals blend perfectly in. The gradual transitions from blackgaze (or outright black metal) to moments of outright indie and alt rock. How potent the main riff to “Percées de lumière” is. The dark split between sides that is “Abysses.” Hoe sometimes I get so caught up in the emotion of the two-part title track that I forget how good both “Solar Song” and “Sur l’ocean couléur de fer” are.
Without translated lyrics I’m left to form my own impressions of what Neige is writing about. I could easily look up the titles in English (and have done so), but whatever his intent, in the end I prefer to covet my own interpretation, regardless of how it may differ from his own. And my interpretation is one of mood, and childhood, and of losing innocence in that peculiar way when you’re young and you start to understand how people work, and it’s not something you expected, and how that can be painful, and lost, and how it puts you in a place where you haven’t yet figured out what things mean, except that they didn’t mean what you thought.
I guess I tie a lot of hurt into this music, but it’s a hurt I feel like I need to own and piece apart so I can better understand it and then finally let it go.