A horrible hack

Amanda Woodward

La decadence de la decadence

Year Released: 2004
Format: CD
Label: Earth Water Sky Connection
Reviewed by Graeme Cunningham on Jun 13, 2007
I had originally planned on sitting down to write a review of this LP a few weeks ago. Alas fate intervened. France handed Scotland their arse on a plate at Murrayfield. I took this as a sign that I should leave it be for the time being and return after a suitable cooling off period. Thus allowing the entente cordial to remain unbroken.

Hardcore isn’t always a medium that encourages long careers, innovation and progress from its participants. So it is interesting when a band does seem to have musical interests beyond its original boundaries. “La Decadence de decadence” is definitely a progression for Amanda Woodward. Musicianship and production values have both moved up the agenda. The songs are generally slower than previous outings. There’s more attention to detail, and each song feels like a complete composition, rather than a collection of riffs.

The opening title track “La decadence de la decadence” opens it up with a driving riff, before slowing into a more measured section, the bass underpinning swirling reverb drenched guitars. Its followed in a similar style by “binaire et lisible” which calls to mind Yage. ““ON” est un con” is a highlight of the first side. Opening with a sparse drum and bass arrangement, those fantastic French vocals flow over the music like cider down a crusty’s throat. This is applicable to most of the songs here; the vocals just sound brilliant. Even though, being from the UK, I’m a typically ignorant swine with absolutely no understanding of French. I await the translations on their website with interest.

The reggae/dub influences that were so apparent on Ultramort are reduced here. Although the bass work is similar, the drums and guitars give a lot of the tracks a more 70’s space rock feel. This is most apparent on “Dans le cas ou les flammes” which kicks off with a wha-wha pedal guitar intro, moving into a prime slice of Sabbath infused rockage. It even has a noodley proggy part which I swear puts me in the mood for Hawkwind.

I’ve had a real difficult time coming to any conclusion about this record. In my opinion, it isn’t as good as either Ultramort, or the 10” they did. That said, I loved those records. I want to say this record disappointed me, but then I listen to it and how can you call something this good disappointing? I suppose the safest thing to say is that if you haven’t heard Amanda Woodward, and you see a copy of this, then grab it with both hands. Then hunt out the back catalogue while its still available.

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