by Eric Bensel
The website for this Besançon, France trio lays out its manifesto very simply: “We are Féroces — no one dances; no one sings.” True, but this pithy definition does not quite capture the band’s refreshing experimentation.
While film directors will insert music to accentuate a mood or propel an action sequence, Féroces reverses the formula, using film to score the music. The group’s morose post-punk is driven by dialogue sampled from classic French movies. One hears gut-wrenching clips of a father whispering farewell to his daughter, lovers negotiating the spiky contours of their emotions, fragile souls announcing their imminent suicide, and a young man comparing a car crash death fantasy to two men consumed by AIDS.
And like any good film, each song features a story arc.
The melancholy of “Une tempête de neige sur l’autoroute” swells into rage. The feather-light intro to “Il peut très bien voler son avion” builds into a pounding, penetrating drone. But tonight’s set closer “Je veux pas mourir avant d’être morte” best encapsulates the group’s poignancy — dialogue of a girl learning she is to die is bathed in an airy indie rock that accelerates into a majestic thrashing. Perhaps the most effective in manipulating the audience’s emotions tonight, the song is distressing yet oddly uplifting.
With an angular, arty sound that would fit snugly on the Thrill Jockey or Dischord rosters back in the 90s, Féroces satisfies both the need to wipe away tears and the urge to bang heads.