Der Crossing Red Light

Obnoxious stinky French grunge-rock from Der on Supersound (BISOU RECORDS BIS-020-U / BEAST RECORDS BR308) …main man Olivier Lambin has performed and recorded as Red since 2000, making a few records with the help of Noël Akchoté, Quentin Rollet, and other notable French players, but he recently reinvented himself as Der by the simple expedient of spelling his name backwards, but he also picked up a bass guitar and started writing these new songs. He’s joined by two drummers and the guitarist Jex (i.e. Jerome Excoffier) to slam out these studio and home recordings.

The outer cover may look a bit ordinary with its “creased paper” motif, but the gatefold inside has a nifty drawing of a bear in a green suit and an antlered deer standing outside in traffic. These two charmers appear in the promotional videos ‘Tired’ and ‘Normal’, both directed and designed by Lambin – it seems the deer is a punk rocker and an Iggy Pop lookalike. I’ll gladly voice my support for an animated weekly TV show along these lines, and I keep hoping for a moment when the record delivers something with as much potential charm and spontaneous anarchic fun, but the band singularly fail to deliver. Competent enough garage rock with few surprises is what you get, and none of the personnel at the mics exhibit any desire or capacity for letting fly with a truly demented punk-out riff or excessive angry noise, as they plod diligently through each ho-hum number. The main attraction I suppose is Olivier Lambin’s voice, which has a certain attraction in its hollow, bored-sounding croakiness, but he’s still not abrasive enough or powerful enough to be mistaken for Cobain or Iggy, seeming to lack any conviction in his own spiky lyrics. Even his frequent (and very stilted) use of the F-word fails to inject any drama, barely registering a flicker on the shock-o-meter. (21/03/2022)