Leading on from 2010’s unbelievable Écailles de Lune record, Alcest have again dazzled us with a transcendent beauty to glide us into the eloquent dreamworld of mastermind Neige. It’s with delirious pleasure that we’re gracefully brought into 2012 by an album destined to be at the top of the polls by the end of the year.
Everything seems to fit gorgeously into place with ‘Les Voyages Des L’Ame’. It reinvigorates those contemplative ‘Alcest’ feelings again and takes you someplace else. Prepare to ascend in woolen warmth to a divine dimension where you can reflect in awe, sadness and happiness or simply drift free on the energies of this hair-raising music. Ethereal shoegaze, perfect melodies and a unique, haunting atmosphere – Alcest have done what initially seemed to be the impossible task – they’ve bettered second LP ‘…de Lune’. From the alluring opener ‘Autre temps’ to the spatial, ambient ‘Beings of Light’, there’s just a feeling that this piece is the one that Alcest have been working towards for some time – it’s a natural step.
There’s less of an emphasis on harsh vocals from Neige, but that in no way detracts from the record and if anything he uses his voice as an instrument in itself. Whether it’s the rare but powerful distinct screams on ‘Là Où Naissent Les Couleurs Nouvelles’ or the enveloping melody of his clean voice on the beautiful final track ‘Summer’s Glory’ – the Frenchman’s vocals are sublimely layered over refined dreamy picking and the angelic fuzz of distortive guitar. Another distinct positive is Winterhalter’s drums. Now onto his second full-length with Neige, his role as main percussionist with Alcest is now a crucial one, especially when considering his performance on the album and particularly on title track ‘Les Voyages De L’Ame’.
Over 10-years has passed since Alcest gave us the scratchy, lo-fi recordings of first demo ‘Tristesse Hivernale’. Neige’s imagination may have always been a fertile place, but never have we heard it spread onto a musical canvas in such a beautiful way.
Reviewed by Calum Robson
Les Voyages De L’Ame is out now on Prophecy Productions
You’ll like this if… you want to visit a secret faraway land that only you know how to access, while feeling a technicolor of beautiful emotions and thoughts.