Mermonte is the brainchild of Ghislain Fracapane, who is accompanied – both on stage and on record – by an army of musicians. Audiorama is the first full length album, after the self-titled EP a couple of years ago.
Firstly, I have to say the song titles are a bit annoying. They consist entirely of French names which makes it hard to remember specific songs. I’ve tried searching for the names, but can’t find any consistent results, so if you know what they relate to, I’d really appreciate it.
Adding to the confusion is the incredible flow of the album. You can easily listen to it in one go, and never really realise one song has finished. The songs are similar, but there is enough in them so that the album isn’t boring and repetitive. I can’t help but think of Audiorama as a film soundtrack, probably for some mumblecore nonsense with Michael Cera. As the album progresses, it is easy to imagine a coherent storyline as you listen to it.
Jérome Bessout opens the album wonderfully; piano and strings abound, until the song slowly builds to the more upbeat ‘Karel Francapane’ and ‘Fanny Giroud’. Already you can hear the sheer amount of instruments used to records this album. The songs are rich, and contain many levels that fit together so well. Half way through the album, ‘Mathieu Rouet’ slows things down with a nice acoustic number, before ‘Cécile Arendarsky’ comes back and seems noisy by comparison.
‘Angélique Beaulieu’ and ‘Cédric Achenza’ are next. They encapsulate everything that is so good about the album in a single song, and make sure that the album ends on a strong note. They both contain soft acoustic elements, mixed with so many layers.
The lyrics are a few and far between, and are reminiscent of Sigur Rós’ “Hopelandic” singing, with syllables rather than actual words being sung. If you are a fan of anyone from Explosions In The Sky, to Dad Rocks! and Jonsi, to noisier stuff like And So I Watch You From Afar and Brontide, I recommend giving them a listen. If you liked their previous EP then definitely give it a listen, as it’s more of the same. I find it hard to find anything to dislike about this album.
– Alex Ryan