With Kodama, it feels like Alcest finally merged genre they were influenced by into one fully homogenized style, and to be honest I’m not 100% certain I love it. Which is not to say Kodama isn’t a very good album or that I don’t enjoy it; it is and I do. But there was something so pure about the way the earlier albums would juxtapose black metal, post rock, shoegaze and pop into these amorphous pieces that would sometimes touch and overlap, only to pull away again that I loved; in a way it reflected my own fractured way of looking at the world.
The title track opens the album and immediately washes over you with lush chords ringing out. Neige’s voice has probably never been better; there’s a confidence in his clean vocals that was missing earlier, and metal is largely abandoned in favor of post-rock and shoegaze, tons of reverb ladled onto guitars already heavy with delay. The production is a little more dense, a strategic move after the airy, pop-oriented songs on Shelter. “Je suis d’ailleurs” is probably my favorite track on the album: it has a punch that reminds me of the older stuff, with the metal finally leaning out from the shadows.
But if I’m being honest, coming back to it now I don’t get the chills or cinematic memory moments I still do hearing Écailles de lune or Souvenirs d’un autre monde. No denying it’s a very, very pretty record, though. Just not one I feel I have to come back to again and again. Listening to this back to back with Écailles de lune I realize one of the things I really look for in music is that primitive, synaptic moment when something, some small part just connects and I get the shiver¹.
If I find that in future posts I’ll be sure to point it out.
¹One thing to note is that I’ve been sick the past few days and migraine coupled with tinnitus flareups are no picnic. I admit that might have colored my listening experience this time around.