Tang are a 5 piece post-hardcore band from Lille France. The band formed in 1997 and, despite going through a couple of line up changes over their 16 years, their latest album Dynamite Drug Diamond has recently been released via Sober Up Records.
The French band are somewhat unique in that all of their songs are actually in English. This piqued my attention on my first listen to the album. The opening track ‘Highway Encounter’ is a very solid open; straight away, I am intrigued by the vocalists’ accent. Typically, British post-hardcore bands try to sound American and vice versa; this is my first experience of a French band at all.
Honestly, I like it; it adds another layer to the music, instead of being very standard, and it is so effortless. I am enchanted by the novelty and almost forget that behind all the new experiences there is a really good song playing. It is a well-written song with catchy hooks, indie toned guitars with a slightly heavier edge. So far, I’m impressed.
The second track ‘Run and Run and Die’ takes on a heavier tone overall, but still in great quality and again I really like it. There is a little guitar melody in the verse and though it is repetitive it doesn’t bore you, it’s very well crafted. There is a break in the song and it is very bare; my only qualm is that the vocals are a bit low, I can’t really hear the lyrics. Despite the fact this song is a lot longer than a radio edit it doesn’t become tiresome, another good track.
The album continues in this post-hardcore manner of indie punk guitars and a drum snare you can hear a mile away. I can’t fault it technically or in many other ways, however I do find myself becoming disillusioned with some of the monotony. While there are some great parts to this album even in the first few tracks I am still yet to hear anything I feel strongly for.
The song ‘In Loving Memories’ finally recaptures my full attention with a strong, heavy start and some amazing vocals that have a call and response effect – it sounds more like the post hardcore we all know and love. The chorus is compelling and has some beautiful vocal harmonies. This song has sucked me back into this album just as I was starting to worry. Again just one small issue, the guitar solo is a bit deflated; very simple and not particularly engaging.
‘Hellissandur’ as a song sounded as the others did until I heard a brass section that I was not expecting, the brass has a very sullen tone and adds an almost depressive ska tone to the song. It’s nice to hear bands mixing things up and using instruments not necessarily standard to their genre, it really makes a difference to the song; not only is this song now more recognizable it gives it uniqueness I haven’t heard on this album yet. The end of this song takes on a music noisier tone with a stable drum beat the band plays with feedback and different sounds to create, what to me sounds like a march for the weird kids.
I’m just over halfway through and the more I listen to the album the more I realize that you have to be in the right mental state to listen to it. A persons enjoyment of an art depends heavily on their mood. I feel, while I like it and I don’t dislike any of the songs, I should be in a different mood listening to it. The music itself is very angst ridden and would be perfect for any one feeling particularly rebellious.
‘Roses Out Of Chaos’ is the final track from the album and an instrumental, and while there isn’t anything wrong I’m struggling to find any magic in the music. It is a brilliant instrumental and shows the abilities of the players more than other songs, but I feel a bit short-changed. The best part of the song is the guitar and strings section towards the end. It’s the most emotion I have felt listening to this album so far – an okay end to an alright album.
While I don’t hate this album, I don’t love it either. Technically its good, full of very good songs, but nothing stands out to me especially and I was just hoping for a bit more of a wow when listening. While the band is very good at what they do, and for any post-hardcore genre fans go and get this album you will love it, I find that personally I want a bit more from an album than what this is offering. I don’t feel any sparkle or motivation or anything really, it’s all just a bit lackluster.