Each member of the French band Fool System is a musical veteran, and their collective experience clearly shows through the ease and skill that exudes from each note of their five-track EP Alternative. The album as a whole is highly diverse, blending slow, rich grooves with turbulent, truculent sections. The fact that the lyrics are sung in both English and French adds a certain charm and distinct sound to the songs.
“Scenic Road” opens the EP with a solid, classically structured rock song. After Djool’s effortless voice enters a mix of light percussion, subtle bass and stylistic strumming of guitars, a more distorted guitar solo amps up the energy of the tune. The verve of the tune reaches a peak as Djool joins in with a wistful, yet anthemic paean during the song’s chorus. The energy dies off towards the middle of the song, but eventually returns for a rousing ending.
Rich and sweet are the opening strums of “L’Alternative.” This ballad quickly turns into a belligerently aggressive rock chorus, displaying a wide spectrum of volume, sounds and tonalities. The only downside to this song is that it repeats excessively, quickly becoming somewhat tedious.
The sampled phone call describing the Charlie Hebdo attack brings added meaning and solemnity to “Opium,” a song written as a reaction to the same attack in January of 2015. The mood of this piece is more pensive than the other songs on the EP, but it carries the same unbridled energy though channeled differently. There is a questioning and desperate tone to the lyrics, intensifying the emotion in this most impactful track of the EP.
The last two songs are very similar rhythmically, but they have enough vocal variation and differences in sound to differentiate them to listeners. “Désinvolture,” which contains the most metal sections of the entire record, concludes the album forcefully, as if encouraging listeners to take the band and their music seriously. The interesting topics and captivating sounds of this EP make it easy for listeners to thoroughly enjoy the songs while doing so.
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