Selenic – Resilience


Sometimes, my fondness for a band surprises even me.  Selenic is a brand new band that I’ve been monitoring for several months now; and, in that time, I’ve really fallen for their style.  Their debut album is called Resilience and it launches on November 25th.

Selenic hails from France.  This isn’t the typical debut nowadays with high profile guest musicians and that sort of thing.  This is a band that is obviously close knit and loves playing together, and they simply made a record that rocks.  The lineup includes Clement Rittie on vocals, Gautier Lambla on guitars, Lucas Tollis on bass, and Daniel Vaxelaire on drums.  You’ll also hear Lucas Rittie on additional guitars and Clément Lambla on samples and programming.

I always find it interesting to see the labels a band gives themselves.  Selenic calls themselves a neo-progressive rock band, which is a label most bands dislike.  I think the band identifies this way because of how melody-forward their music is, while they also revel in some pretty heavy rock segments that have undeniable energy and efficacy.  You’ll hear songs with complex structures that really enhance and focus upon the band’s many strengths, trading rock for cinema at times, or perhaps leaning strongly into a slow burn that grants immense payoff.  Their sound is tight, rhythmic, and explosive, but also deeply balanced.

As I’ve listened to Resilience, one strong impression I’ve had is how skilled these musicians are.  Clement has a unique voice that has really grown on me, and the way he holds notes and swings back and forth between octaves is super impressive.  Gautier’s guitars are absolutely stunning, probably being some of my favorite this year; I love how powerful the riffs are, but how equally riveting his licks and tone are.  The rhythm section is the real secret here, though, with Lucas and Daniel digging in deep with powerful bass lines and a drum performance that is pure nuanced fireworks, if that makes any sense.  The musicians are incredibly good at what they do.

I’m having difficulty conveying why I like them so much, though.  Their music has intuition within it, almost like the band always knows the perfect portion that needs to come next.  They craft songs in such a way that they are constantly setting themselves up for big payoffs.  Sometimes that might mean a heavy wall of guitars and blast beats, or it might mean a serene ambient portion with vivid color.  Either way, they seem to know exactly how to express themselves authentically and effectively.

This extends even to how the album is situated.  There are eleven tracks, and one of the two singles comes near the beginning, and the other one closes the record.  I think this poises listeners who love the singles for maximum enjoyment of the record since those singles act as a touchstone for processing the full release.  “Denial” comes early in tracklist, and I absolutely adore its manic energy, perfectly placed f-bomb, and leering metallic ambience near the middle.  “Lone” closes the album, and I have to say that I’ve probably played this song dozens of times.  It has melodic fire in its britches, and Clement’s vocals are outstanding.  I love how the album closes with probably the catchiest segment on the entire release—my kids immediately loved this song because of that fact.

But the songs in between are no filler.  There are some incredibly strong tracks here, and they each seem to have their own personality.  Let me highlight a few.  The opener “Inertia” is well-named since it is three minutes long and heavy on the riffs.  “Auburn” is a favorite with its whimsical rhythmic qualities and spacey interlude; that one is simply beautiful.  “Closure” is another favorite, this one being maybe the best on the album.  I love how much edge it has, sometimes feeling like Gautier is finally unleashing the onslaught that this album deserves.  Yet, the song ends with a filmic, gorgeous outro that is simply perfect.

Then there are tunes like the instrumental “Mer de Lune”, a seemingly flawless and expressive track with great guitar work.  “Unique” is another one of those tracks with a well-conceived central tune and it really rocks; the chorus is gripping.  I like the mournful tone of “Last Day of a Sailor”, too, and the guitar solo at the end is pitch perfect.

I don’t know, everyone.  This album is pretty airtight.  Selenic have a mojo that translates so well into vigorous, technically adept, melodically experienced ideas.  Every single song seems to be a winner, and I find myself only getting more enthusiastic about the album the more I hear it.  I love Resilience through and through.

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