Renard Blanc was a one-man project that turned into a full-fledged band. It wasn’t until his first EP was completed that he found bassist Jacob Gladu, guitarist Francis Roy and drummer Alexandre Crepeau to bring the music to audiences live. After a year or so of rehearsals they had enough new material to go into a studio and record their first full length entitled Arsarneq. According to the band the goal behind Arsarneq was “to find the good balance between intricate signatures, interesting melodies halfway between minor and major scales and a true identity.”
After a little bit of time listening to the songs it becomes very evident that they achieved their goal. The band implements intricate time signatures that you will notice but aren't too jarring much in the same way that the band Grizzly Bear does.
The band is a big fan of reverb as not only the vocals but also the guitar sound as if they are being played in an auditorium. This isn’t a bad thing; it works very well with the music they play and often creates a grandiose sound that the band occasionally strives for.
The album opens with “Fondations,” which will immediately give you an idea of what you are in for. I enjoyed the chemistry right off the bat between the musicians as they rock out in their own signature type of way. The guitars are relatively clean and the drums crash but are subdued with a jazz style type of playing. Once the verse hits the band loosens up and creates some space for the reverb-soaked vocals. The vocals are warm and attractive and prove to be one of the finer aspects of the band. As the song progresses the band continues to crush it with technical and creatively impressive material.
“Aurore Boréale” holds down an infectious groove with keyboards, guitars, bass and drums while “Sourd” is a slow- moving atmospheric piece that has an undercurrent of jazz running through it.
“La Brume” contains the most energy and also does the most rocking out. That being said the song has so many changes that it is a blast to listen to. Pay close attention to the drumming on this one as some of the technical feats are mighty impressive.
The EP closes with “Polaris,” which is an atmospheric song that reminded me of Sigur Ros at points. There are a number of moments that burst with emotion within the four minutes and eighteen seconds of the track. “Polaris” is arguably the highlight of the album.
Renard Blanc is a band with a surplus of innate talent both creatively and technically, which make listening to Arsarneq an absolute pleasure.
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