Sat 14th September 2013
Tu aime l'alt-rock de 90's? Oui? Then you'll enjoy this offering from Rennes (that's in France, if you hadn't guessed from the grammatical failure at the start of this review (in spite of an A at GCSE)) quintet Alternine. If the answer is a resounding 'non', then look away now.
Given that 'non' would be my answer too (I'm sorry, but Alice In Chains and their like have never lit my proverbial cigar) I'm going to do the decent thing and review this CD within the context of its genre. Or at least try.
Fronted by chanteuse Laetitia Jéhanno, whose vocals bring to my mind at least, James Dean Bradfield of the Manic Street Preachers (still with me?), Alternine (no relation to rave duo Altern8) offer a bright and shiny take on the gloomy, chorus-pedaled post-grunge era. As such there are riffs that waver dangerously close to the barren borderlands of nu-metal, but thankfully the bulk steers well clear.
The band cite Tool as an influence, which is fine if they mean the Opiate era, whose crunch can just be detected amid the sub-Evanesence/Lacuna Coil goth-gloss-varnish, but damn wrong if they mean to emulate anything after 1993.
The production is clean and crisp, and the instruments well played (ie: without any kind of detectable passion, but technically good) which is fine, but not particularly gritty. One hopes their purported emotions come across better live.
So, not much to shout about then, but worth a butcher's if you like your alt-rock clean, safe and about fifteen years past its sell-by date. Which is unlikely if your reading this review.