ALCEST – “Shelter”

AlcestShelterThe much anticipated new Alcest release nestled in my post box and I knew immediately that the day was indeed a good day. Neige and Winterhalter have returned with another beautifully written album with a slight move back to the feel and sounds of the wonderful debut full length ‘Souvenirs d’Un Autre Monde’.  The few harsh vocals evident on the previous release ‘Les Voyages De L’Ame’ have given way to a completely clean delivery and with a voice like Neige’s, why on earth not?

The album intro ‘Wings’ opens with an ethereal chant and move into ‘Opale’ with an upbeat melody and sweeping guitars and once again we are off on another journey into this particular Frenchman’s grey matter. ’Voix Sereine’ is a gorgeous track which builds into a pleasant crescendo, a theme which runs through this magical album.  Title track ‘Shelter’ is almost into indie territory, and the track ‘Away’ features English lyrics from ‘Slowdive’ man Neil Halstead.

Conceptually the album was written about the sea, a place by where the writer seeks ‘Shelter’ to take time to escape reality and seek inner peace, something I think we can all relate to in our crazy 24/7 world.  Sigur Rós producer Birgir Jón Birgisson twiddled the knobs on the album and you can understand why he was chosen for this release, which has hit written all over it.

Dream pop, shoe-gaze or post rock, whatever label you wish to pin on the band these days you have to say that these guys deliver beauty in audio.  Essential.