I was tempted to begin this review in a manner similar to the way I began my
Plexorjet review: there's been a void
in my life ever since Archers Of Loaf went their separate ways. But perhaps that's
a little unfair. I mean, most bands these days sound vaguely like some other band
that preceded them. It's not their fault that the easiest way to evoke an unheralded
band's sound is to immediately compare them to some other, more famous band.
However, in the case of Haricot Vert, the Archers Of Loaf comparison is not
only valid, but also somewhat fundamental. Their new EP, Les Moyennes des
Folklore, begins with a song, Blanket wash, that clearly invokes
the tone of Icky Mettle (the Archers' first album). Similarly, the
last song, Vengeuse Gentile, has an instrumental interlude and staccato
feel that recalls All the Nations Airports (the penultimate album
by the now ubiquitous Archers Of Loaf). In between, the remaining 4 songs each
could placed somewhere within the AoL catalog and pass as good background album
Now before you think I'm slamming Haricot Vert in the preceding paragraph,
let me tell you that I can think of infinitely worse bands for a young group to
imitate. I'm not sure I could write a straight-up, non sarcastic review for a
band that, say, sounded just like Sonic Youth or some other early-90s Indie Rock
Gods . And, to give Haricot Vert some credit, their sound has the requisite
"emo" touches one might expect from a young Atlanta rock band (although in the
context of these songs, I'm personally reminded more of Polvo - yet another North
"But really, Tracers," I hear you cry. "Aren't you damning Haricot Vert with
faint praise? Shouldn't a young band be able to make an album without being immediately
labeled as sounding like some other band?"
In and of itself, that's an interesting question. In theory, one should be
able to review music without comparing it to that which has come before. But,
in this case, Haricot Vert (like many young bands) haven't yet figured out a way
to translate their influences into something slightly different and unique. Instead,
their sound is skillful and powerful, but still a re-hash of other songs and songwriters.
Yes, this is a criticism, but it's not a sharp one.
Les Moyennes des Folklore is enjoyable, and shows that this band
is quite talented. With some age and experience, one would imagine that Haricot
Vert will show growth and gradually find their own voice. Personally, I look forward
to their future endeavors. Until then, I'll listen to this EP and be reminded
of other albums.