Review ·

This is a great spot at which to bring up the issue of reviewer neutrality. Spoiler alert: The following might be biased, because the six members of Chef Menteur have three things that endear their band to my heart. For one, they're from New Orleans. Their name comes from a major Crescent City thoroughfare, and in the liner notes they thank college radio deejays whom yours truly used to work with. Second, the band recorded We Await Silent Tristero's Empire in the waning days before Hurricane Katrina; any art with such an antediluvian pedigree is bound to be elevated to mythic status. And finally, any indie band that uses an obscure reference from a Thomas Pynchon novel must be smarter than your average major-label bear. (Although Thrice just did that, too, didn't it?)

 

It's hard to talk about separate tracks on We Await Silent Tristero's Empire since as a whole it drones and throbs like one big continuous art piece - this is noise rock in the vein of Acid Mothers Temple or Kinski. The title track starts out robotically, sounding like a current Hot Chip track, but it then picks up a Caribbean vibe, not unlike something you'd expect from the Avalanches. "Paysanas de la Mer" stands out with its spicy sitar. And "Io," seventeen-plus minutes of faintly glowing ambiance, ends the album in very Eno-esque fashion.

 

Oh, and one more thing: don't ever antagonize the horn.

 

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