les rivals Les Rivals (LP, £16.50)label: Casbah Records
And here it is, long-awaited, hoped for, dreamed of... the first album from Les Rivals will finally hit our turntables. In a state of perpetual change from the start, this Parisian quintet with its roots in Montreuil first burst onto the scene in 2009 with their debut single on Close Up Records, 'Who Are You' and its B side, 'We Did It (To Ourselves)' revealed a group nourished on 60s garage rock and already armed with extraordinary melodies. Two years later came the follow-up, 'Take You Out' / 'Girls', which, while still in the same vein, also revealed a more mature approach from songwriting pair Lefevre/Lister. Galloping rhythms, stinging guitars, swirling keyboards and well-seasoned vocals... the group, with a stable line-up at last, had found a winning brand of psychedelic pop. After a successful turn at the Cosmic Trip festival in Bourges, Les Rivals were soon at work on their next single, 'Sugar Babies' / 'Fruitcake', which came out in 2012 on Mauvaise Foi Records. This 7 inch allowed the band to show its two very different sides. Hallucinogenic and impossibly catchy on 'Sugar Babies', angsty garage rock on 'Fruitcake'. It's a natural progression from there to the album, which draws on much of the musical journey that the band has been on since its beginning. From freakbeat hymns to nostalgic vignettes of Swingin' London and hearty dollops of rock'n'roll, it's a psychedelic beast of a record, lovingly produced over many months in the studio. With twelve-string guitar, sitar, and even oboe and harpsichord all added to the mix, the Rivals have refined their smoke-hazed sound and created something even richer.
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