Full Gallery: Team Ghost at La Maroquinerie
While the world waits for M83/Anthony Gonzalez to produce a proper follow-up to Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming, outside of the upcoming Tom Cruise film, his former collaborator (and M83 cofounder) Nicolas Fromageau has stepped up to the plate. Their debut album, Rituals, takes a bat to preconceived notions that you’ll have an introspective wonderscape soaring and majestic, opting for a self-described (accurately, I must add) heedy ‘coldgaze’. Dark and imposing yet intoxicating, misery truly loved company the other night at La Maroquinerie in Paris when the 5-piece group proved French rock needs to be taken seriously on the world stage.
But before they took to the stage, Her Magic Wand opened up. Think Silversun Pickups with a less nasally singer with a cello, or perhaps a cross section of Hot Water Music melodics and early 2000s Jade Tree Records (Jets to Brazil, especially). Although you couldn’t hear the cello as well as you would’ve liked, they had a solid, promising sound that hopefully will translate when they release their next batch of music. I encourage you to check out a couple of their songs off the Catch a Rainbow EP on Bandcamp.
“On s’appelle Woodkid.” (“We’re called Woodkid”) A quick little knock at the talk of France at the moment, Team Ghost introduced themselves early in the set. “Blood” opened the set, providing a premonition for the evening, notably that the night was probably going to be similar to their Silencio performance months earlier. Far, far flung from M83, the vision of Team Ghost is one of a world sapped, somber and, as that piano faded in the song, can give in to complete raging u-turns more suitable for horror than fantasy. This sound doesn’t come from France, typically, despite the tombs and catacombs laced underneath this city, and heavily merits checking out in an age of gothic experimentation that’s going on in music.
Several lulls gave much needed breathing room into a rather heavy set, especially when you have multiple guitars hurtling headfirst towards your ears (with each surprisingly distinct). “Somebody’s Watching” was one of those early on, which served more as a early alarm prior to Team Ghosts’ current single, “Curtains.”
Live, that evening, Félix Delacroix was particularly vicious on drums, thundering into easily the spot of one of the best drummers I’ve seen in my time in Europe. He could drop the cymbals and still demolish through a track, as evident with “Curtains.” The song contorted into a twisted carnival, leaving Nicolas and Benoît de Villeneuve to their own devices, shredding as if they switched strings with rotary blades. Tight. Just after, a breath with “Pleasures that Hurt.”
Although “Dead Film Star,” the single that was released roughly a year ago leading into an EP, clearly remains a highlight due to the sheerly memorable visuals (watch), the group went into an increasing personal favorite of “Team Ghost.” Jangly, barren drums balanced by a janky bass dirge, it was the pinnacle statement of the night, as it is on Rituals.
Right after set closer “Away,” with its airy, rigorous riffs, the group came back out with the encore “Montreuil.” It was the closest thing you’d get to a “cup half full” moment of the evening, more electro pop that you’d expect when you talk French rock. Somehow, it worked that night in removing the viscous atmosphere for a moment. One more track like this would’ve helped lift some weight from heavy, but impressive coldgaze; something akin to how These Arms Are Snakes balanced “Gadget Arms” and “Big News” with “Your Pearly Whites” and “Darlings of New Midnight” off their 2004 post-hardcore stunner Oxeneers or the Lion Sleeps When its Antelope Goes Home.
You don’t get many evenings like Thursday in Paris, at least that I know of, of thrashing, tremendous guitarists losing themselves into maniacal melodies and a furious energy. Cross your fingers Team Ghost drifts through a town near you.