It’s hard to believe We Only Said operates nearly 4,100 miles outside Louisville, once- and always-home of post-rock icons Slint and Rodan. They just sound so downright Louisvillian. But so it goes for the reigning post-rock champions of Rennes, France.
The group – whose second full-length, Boring Pools, was released by Les Disques Normal earlier this month – is just the answer for people who have been jonesing for glassy guitars and oft-kilter time signatures, for example, during the long, sad musical absence of Jeff Mueller. But to say We Only Said is a carbon copy of Louisville post-rock or merely a passerby or worshipper at the altar of Unwound is reductive. It’s more like translation. So, let’s say, Shellac is to Uzeda as June of ’44 is to We Only Said. On Boring Pools, the band does everything and then some to prove it’s up to the equation, and not losing something in the shift over the Atlantic. Well done — success!
The multi-guitar attack works in ways both obvious (the screeching lead of “A Fearful And Violent Hurry”) and sublime (the jazzy textures of “Here Comes The Thirteenth Lie”); guitarist Florian Marzano’s time in the eight-guitar Pink-Iced Club clearly is paying dividends. The band’s three guitarists work miracles both major and minor on tunes like “(Along All) Boring Pools,” which manages to sound both menacing and innocently lost simultaneously, and the brilliant “Get Out Freakie (Alternate Version),” which gives Come On Die Young-era Mogwai a run for its money.
There are choices here that seem contrarian, like spending half of “Mitch” three songs in being rather downcast instead of launching into the latter moments, which are more Argument-esque, or closing the CD with the psalm-like “Killing For A Job” rather than shifting gears and going more bombastic. Christ, they could have reprised “Get Out Freakie” three more times and I would have been smiling ear to ear.
On the other hand, songs like album-opener “Dry As Dust,” a Four Great Points outtake if ever there were one, show how much these guys have grown since forming in 2007 and how much they’ve refined their glassy post-rock sound since their self-titled 2009 debut full-length.
In short: a hell of a record worth tracking down. I mean, c’mon, you don’t even need an international plane ticket and a passport stamp. The band’s on Bandcamp, sloth. So, until there’s another wave of Louisville post-rock – King’s Daughters & Sons, I’m looking right square at you — let’s keep an eye on Rennes. — Popdose, Jan. 23, 2015