Friday, June 4, 2010

Is Mr. Meeble xenophobic or is their album title just a ploy for attention?

A few months back I posted several entries re: French musicians (if you choose to click on this link, read only the sections in RED to follow the thread).  I was a bit harsh with my unrestrained criticism which, to be fair, was pretty accurate.  What I found most uninspiring about many of the unsigned French acts I encountered was a detached tone of ennui that pervaded the majority of vocal stylings - like a viral infection that’s caused one to become suddenly bored and unconcerned over the music, the lyrics and the whole music performance experience in general mid-song.  To be fair, French is a very nuanced and lyrical language that, I believe, lacks the drama and punch necessary to really finish off a good rock, pop or post-punk-type song.  Where I found French most effective was in the Goth mode (if you follow the link above I touch on this briefly).
Having said - or written - that, Mr. Meeble is one French act that’s figured out how to maneuver around this language issue by simply avoiding the need to sing much of the time, focusing instead upon what most of the French bands seem to do best: generate dreamy and moody musical sculptures from simple melodies interwoven with layers of resonant harmonies and extramusical sounds topped off with dubbed in, often conversant, vocal samples.  On the occasions when Mr. Meeble music does incorporate vocals, they are sung in English, which I humbly feel is more effective than French.  I realize my critique of French vocals risks reflecting a bit of Xenophobia (or would that simply be Franco-phobia?) on my part.  But, cultural bias or not, I can only report on what does or does not resonate with my personal tastes.  While on the topic of Xenophobia, I must warn any suffering from an overdeveloped sense of post-colonial guilt or a profound drive toward rigorous political correctness in all communications and correspondences, that the title of the band’s debut release Never Trust the Chinese is bound to offend.  But, needless to say, it is an attention grabber.
I enjoy listening to Mr. Meeble immensely.  They remind me of Tortoise in places, Mogwai and even Moby in others.  The band members themselves cite Massive Attack, Radiohead, Bjork and the Cocteau Twins among their many influences. They are a bit industrial, a bit electro-pop and an even larger bit ambient - one of those rare bands that can take a simple progression of several notes and play them over and over for several minutes without ever becoming tedious or boring.  
You can listen to song samples and learn more about Mr. Meeble at the band’s Reverb Nation and MySpace sites.  You can also purchase music at Amazon and iTunes by clicking on the links below.
S.      iTunes

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