FOGGY BOTTOM - Une histoire à l'envers

Foggy Bottom - Une histoire à l'envers

7 songs
27:38 minutes
***** ****
Twenty Something


There are some bands that you know will never change their sound. AC/DC for instance might soon be recording a new album, but we know already that it will sound exactly the same way like those from the last forty or so years. And then there are bands where you didn’t expect a change coming, and then you get caught quite by surprise,... like Foggy Bottom from Thionville in France. The band was founded more than twenty years ago, in 1997, to be precise. Their first EP and the following longplayer offered a pleasant mix of power pop punk. Then they took a break for thirteen years, just to arrive back in 2017 with Sur le fil, an album where they continued merrily where they left off in the past, although maybe in a more mature way. Then, last year’s single Caravelle showed them from a more reflective side, and this is now continued on their new album Une histoire à l’envers.

And yet the album starts with a couple of songs that still adhere to the band’s past. The opener Je te vois encore offers heavily distorted guitars, a steady rhythm section and melodic vocals full of melancholy. The general sound feels like pop punk mangled through a noise rock filter from the early Nineties. The catchy melody makes sure that this is a perfect entry point into a really good if somewhat short album. The following Ici Paris, though faster in pace, even adds more melancholy with a lot of references to the music from the Eighties. And again, such good songwriting, you start wondering why these guys have not yet achieved more success. Que des conneries continues in the direction of the preceding tracks, but with such an unforgettable chorus that it is my personal favourite of the album.

Up next is the title track, and it’s here where we get the first time Eighties sounding synthesizers wallowing in the background. This becomes even more obvious in the following Une vie d’unfortune with its beginning reminding me strongly of Killing Joke’s Love Like Blood. As a matter of fact, the latter half of the album adds a strong Eighties component to the otherwise Nineties sound, and although these are generally speaking very different sounds, Foggy Bottom manage to combine them seamlessly into their very own sound. Dans ce train is a shorter, more straightforward song, before the album ends with the five minute long Oser dire, another masterful stylistic exercise where the band combines the shoegaze melancholy of My Bloody Valentine with the power pop antics of Weezer.

The three musicians from Foggy Bottom are all in their early Fifties now, but have shown that it is never too late to mature and actually improve their sound. Gone might be the carefree days of the debut EP from 2001, but Une histore à l’envers has definitely more substance, showing that life experience and patience can still yield masterpieces. I was expecting possibly a Sur le fil 2.0, but this is another step forward for this criminally underrated power noise pop punk band from France.

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