Syndrome 81: Prisons Imaginaires 12"

Syndrome 81: Prisons Imaginaires 12"


Tags: · 20s · brest · hardcore punk · hcpmf · punk
Regular price
$16.00
Sale price
$16.00

From Brest, France, this is the debut full length from SYNDROME 81, who already left us with a handful of great singles and a couple of splits. This LP leans even further into the cold dark of traditional French Oi. Very melodic, catchy tunes with a layer of roughness mostly due to the anger in the vocals and rocking tempos. Like many things French, there is an underlying sense of existential hopeless despair layered with bursts of empowerment and perseverance. This is conveyed through dark anthemic lyrics and moody guitar leads that land somewhere between CAMERA SILENS and later BLITZ. A perfect soundtrack for a rainy day when you catch yourself questioning your existence in a doomed town. Though this album has an overall gloomy feel, in the depth of winter, you may find within this LP lay an invincible summer.

Our take: We first stocked Prisons Imaginaires, the new album from Brest, France’s Syndrome 81, earlier this summer while I was away on tour with Scarecrow. That initial batch sold out immediately, so I didn’t have an opportunity to listen to the record until this restock arrived earlier this week. Hearing it now, it’s easy to see why so many people snatched this up… Prisons Imaginaires is an infectious album. The basic framework of Syndrome 81’s is a collision between battering ram French oi! and angular yet melodic post-punk. That mix of styles isn’t unprecedented, but it’s not common to hear bands attempt it, and even less common to hear bands who really makes it work. Within that framework, Syndrome 81 finds a lot of room for stylistic variation, from the manic “Violence Sociale,” a near-hardcore song that sounds a bit like a faster version of something off of Leatherface’s first album Cherry Knowle, to more mournful songs like “Avenir.” My favorite tracks, though, are the super poppy up-tempo tracks like “Fuir Son Passe” and “Dans Les Rues Des Brest,” which approach the pop bliss of early Cure or New Order tracks with an added injection of punk energy. For the closing track, “Lumiere Magnetique,” Syndrome 81 switches out their acoustic drums for synth drums, going full darkwave and proving they could pass an audition to open for the Soft Moon or Boy Harsher. Through all the twists and turns, the songwriting remains immediate yet sophisticated, making for that rare record that knocks you out on the first listen, yet rewards you for coming back again and again.