L’Epee: A Ye-Ye Pop Paradise

L'Epee Diabolique Album Art for review

Diabolique from the band L’Epee reviewed by DJ Ramblin Rose

Erratic, deranged and sharp-witted, Anton Newcombe is a walking visual film. Whether he is managing bands like Dead Meadow, cooking dinner for the late Anthony Bourdain to founding one of rock’s most prolific bands, The Brian Jonestown Massacre, he’s not somebody to mess with. Although he has not received much mainstream success, Newcombe has always done things his own way and music critics have praised him for his rebellion. His latest collaboration with Lionel and Marie Limiñana of The Limiñanas and performer Emmanuelle Seigner, L’Epee is a French psychedelic theatre project. Their debut album draws in fans of Serge Gainsbourg and The Velvet Underground; it’s alluring and seductive, so irresistible that it excites a diverse range of listeners. Newcombe lived in Berlin for a decade; the album reflects on a changing European culture and social movements such as Metoo. Some people say Newcombe is difficult and pretentious but that’s rock and roll I guess? People love the wacky stories and folk tales. 

The name L’Epee first off means sword and boy this album really delivers. The song off the album Diabolique, Dreams is a campy trippy experience. Is it any wonder why the world craves this song with the popularity of neo-psychedelic bands like Tame Impala and Deerhunter? Their distinct signature is so recognizable and the melody is beautiful. It’s a fresh piece of french guitar pop mixed with something completely avant garde. Anton mentioned this song came from his own hallucination of looking at clear blue skies. For all intents and motives, L’Epee is an unpredictable kaleidoscope ripple of  dark undertones in my humble opinion. It has a dominating tambourine, a snake like sound bass reminding you of the Rolling Stones’ Their Satanic Majesties Request. Some might even say it’s like listening to another BJM album but, it’s far more sick. A Ye Ye pop wonderland. 

“Ghost Rider” is a bizarre horror piece. A family friend of mine got to meet with Newcombe last year in his studio while he was working on this particular song. Picture it with your eyes closed. A hazed out black and white animation, loud drum beats and maracas. Spooky, witchcraft even. The whole time I was listening to this song, my brain was going to different places. Mind you, it was a crazy winter afternoon taking the train back to my apartment.

The warm-hearted passion in this project speaks in such loud volumes. Newcombe’s new group is a great beginning of the 20’s. It’s an awesome pick and only a particular person can really recognize the genius behind the music. So despite what the haters say, I can call myself a Newcombe fan through and through.

Reviewer Sacha Fleming is a longtime FM DJ here at WFNP. On the air, she goes by DJ Ramblin’ Rose. Make some music discoveries by catching her show every Monday from 8-10pm on 88.7 FM and streaming at wfnp.org.

Newcombe in the studio! Berlin, late 2019.

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