Saturday, September 27, 2008

Metal Urbain - Anarchy In Paris!

Vive La Commune! 1

Metal Urbain, "Ghetto" (YSI link)

Metal Urbain, "Anarchie Au Palace" (YSI link)

Metal Urbain, "Tango Sudiste"
(YSI link)

Paris and punk? No joke, it wasn't all berets and crepes over there in the late 70s. Okay, there wasn't much of a punk scene, nothing close to what happened in the UK and US. Metal Urbain was the big fish in that small pond, a group that had a profound impact on the ensuing So Young But So Cold bands we discussed last week and who deserve a bigger place in the history of post-punk and bringing electronics to that genre.

Anarchy In Paris! is a compilation from Acute Records that covers most of their releases and a handful of unreleased numbers too. Released in 2003, it gives a great overview of the band's small recorded output and shows how far ahead of the curve they were than all of the other punk bands with their use of drum machines and synthesizers. Long-time readers will know that I have never really gotten into punk, but these guys have just enough of a skewed approach to make it work. I'm not totally certain why I don't like punk; the best guess I have is that I just don't like music that has an explicit political message. It's ironic, as I consider myself a political and engaged person, but there's something that leaves me cold when I hear angry, political music. Or maybe it's just the predictability of the punk I've heard, that same, loud and fast aesthetic that does nothing for me. Actually, I guess I do know why. Yeah!

The songs above should give everyone a chance to hear how Metal Urbain took the punk template and put their own spin on it. First off, there's the drums, which give the music an immediately cold and clinical sound that fights with the passionate vocals and guitars. There's also a willingness to experiment with duration and tempo, as you will hear 4+ minute songs, guitar drones and noise. "Ghetto" is my personal favorite, a jagged electronic punk freakout. Good stuff.

Grab your copy here, if you like the sound of the tracks above. I recommend it highly, a really unique sound that sits at the precipice of the punk and all that followed. Politics, drum machines, synths, loud guitars! Yeah! Fuck influence, this is just good music.

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