Leave it to the French, or at least, French-Canadians to put a much-needed, thought-provoking twist on rock ‘n roll. While the underground music world continues to stretch in infinite directions, Malajube helps to recenter the trends with an inventive mix of soaring ’90s alternative rock sounds and ultra-modern effects. Labyrinthes is a clear gem in 2009’s rock bag.
From the most intense moments on the album ("Ursuline" and "333") to the calmer side ("Dragon de glace"), the Montreal four-piece keeps a highly melodic formula in tact. They create dense, but inviting tracks all throughout that seemingly blend the best parts of the last twenty years. Heavy guitars, wild-eyed vocals, and eclectic synths all combine with brilliant mid-tempo rhythms that exude both youthfulness and uncommon expertise. Labyrinthes really shines on the driving piano-led "Porté disparu" and the buttery smoothness of "Hérésie".
In a world where inventiveness seems to be taken too seriously, Malajube are thankfully able to make putting cleverness and rock together look easy. Their melodies seem all-natural, and the ebb & flow of intensity throughout Labyrinthes is absolutely masterful. It might even inspire you to learn French if you don’t know it.