It’s been some time since the 2013 release of The Black Noodle Project’s “Ghosts & Memories”, my favorite album from this French outfit. This band has been an intriguing mystery to me for several years now, and I’ll admit much of that has to do with their name. Fast forward to December 2017, and the band has resurfaced with a new album called “Divided We Fall”. I was hoping for a return to the ambient, vibrant personality of their previous album, but I do feel like this was only partly fulfilled.
Like I said, The Black Noodle Project hails from Paris, France. The band includes Jeremie Grima on guitars, keys, and vocals; Sebastien Bourdeix on guitars; Tommy Rizzitelli on drums; and Mobo on bass. Apparently, a couple of them don’t like to have their pictures taken.
The music here is post-prog, according to the band, but I would label it more as post-rock with some Floydian elements. It is quite emotional and climatic, almost to a fault, though. Soaring, elongated guitars are the primary means of communication here, along with some great drumming and atmospheric keys. The album is rather spacey at times, and driving and purposeful in others.
I am specifically impressed with the guitar work from Jeremie and Sebastien. It is distorted at times, but soulful in others. It is quite forceful and focused, and is definitely the star of the album. Tommy’s drums are quite like Floyd’s Mason, and I rather like that rumbling and steady style, and Mobo’s bass is definitely part of that lively sound. Jeremie’s keys are very noticeable and varied here, especially on certain tracks where burning synth sounds are used. Also, the vocals are few and far between on this album. “Ashes to Ashes” and “Left Behind” are the only track with vocals, but Jeremie’s voice does sound great, so I almost wish there were more.
So, the performances are great, and the sound is solid. However, I find that this album lacks some of the depth and personality of the last release, unfortunately. Every song seems to climax the same way, giving a monotonous feeling throughout the album. The instrumentals are well composed and performed, but nothing all that exciting happens, outside of a few moments here and there. Some of the tracks seem rather disposable completely.
Don’t get me wrong. This album will grow on you, and it makes for very pleasant and enjoyable listening, but I feel like it really won’t stick, especially as much as “Ghosts & Memories”, which I still listen to all the time. There are still some really great songs on this album, though, so I want to discuss those a bit.
“Isolation” starts the climactic trend of this album. Its gigantic instrumental near the end is one of the best parts of the whole album. “Memorial” is another good one, and has a nostalgic, mournful tone to it with a great central guitar lick. “Ashes to Ashes” might be my favorite: It has great vocals and a wonderful guitar lick near the end that feels familiar and homey. “Cosmic Dust” is probably the most vibrant song on the album. It has this Blade Runner feel to it that I obviously love, but manages to pull off a strong beat and urgent guitars, too. It also contains several transitions that are done very well.
In the end, “Divided We Fall” has some very strong moments, but does meander around a bit too much in others. I appreciate post-rock and the slow burn to the climax, but it can get a little old after a few songs. If you are a huge post-rock fan and also love Pink Floyd, you’ll probably really like this album, and I highly recommend you take a look. If those two elements aren’t really your thing, I don’t know if you’ll reap anything here.
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