Maxime Smadja has held many positions of note in some of the more exceptional French underground groups of recent years. For instance, you might know him as the beastly beat keeper behind Paris Oi band RIXE or the song writer behind the ever so catchy BOSS but for those who have yet to be initiated this is CONDOR - a one man band and love letter of sorts to his homeland and the particular strain of Oi / Punk music that it started yielding well over three decades ago. Previously only available on a pair of scarcely pressed and circulated cassingles, Beach Impediment Records is ecstatic to further the circulation of these six songs on the vinyl format. Channeling the brightest moments of the classic compilation series "Chaos En France" (and really, anything else on the Chaos Productions label that's worth a damn) combined with an execution so precise and well crafted that it carries that undeniable trademark of Smadja's many other contributions to the genre of punk over his time in it due to it's attention to detail and adoration of quality. And as a special bonus this slab features an additional track that is exclusive to this release - a cover of "Vengeance" by the 80's Parisian Oi outfit D.E.M. Each record comes in a jacket featuring the stellar art of Beau Richie depicting what I'd assume must be a typical day in one of the abundant alleyways that weave through out the City of Lights, plus a killer 18" x 24" fold out poster insert. Be sure to catch CONDOR on tour this spring through out North America!
Our take: Condor is a one-man project by Maxime from Rixe, and this debut vinyl collects two cassingles released over the past two years. If you’re skeptical about the whole demo-on-vinyl thing, let me assure you that the music collected here is among the most memorable and exciting punk music to come through here as of late. When I first heard Condor I wondered why they were a new project because they didn’t seem that different from Rixe; both are oi! bands that sing in French and are indebted to their country’s long tradition of oi! music. However, aside from two fast, Partisans-style UK82 tracks, Condor distinguish themselves from Rixe by being much more melodic. While the vocals are still gruff, the bass and guitar carry a lot more melody than they do in Rixe. Nowhere is this clearer than on the standout track, “Chacun Pour Soi,” which has not one but two classic melodic lead riffs. These riffs are so catchy that I could imagine them being used in a 90s melodic hardcore song by a band like Ten Foot Pole or Good Riddance, but you won’t find any clicky kick drum or whiny vocals here. I’ve loved everything Rixe has put out, but this Condor stuff might be even better.