Label: Africantape Release Date: 6/04/10 Link: MySpace When I asked to review this album, it was more out of curiosity than enthusiasm: French indie and rock is beginning to surface from the ‘power-ballad-loving’ French stereotype, thanks to the popularity of Versailles band Phoenix. Whatever I was expecting when I asked for Marvin’s new album Hangover the Top, it wasn't what I heard when I (mistakenly) turned up the volume during the intro of opener ‘Roquedur’. The album kicks in after exactly a minute, and after that, it barely concedes a moment of peace. It has a touch of prog-rock, a smattering of punk, occasional surprising bursts of electro, but never does it give up in its mission to blast right through your eardrums. Translation sites don’t understand ‘Roquedur’, and neither do I. It changes suddenly from a civil - lo-fi guitar beginning, mildly distorted (like most rock), into a thumping, angry and rhythmically confused central passage (that never quite becomes a song). But, my God, it’s quite breathtaking. To be able to make that much noise as a three-piece, and make it in such a raw and passionate way, is astounding. Often, albums go rapidly downhill from the opening track. ‘Au 12’ is not a movement downhill, more a sudden transition to a different peak. ‘Au 12’ features much more keyboard, backed up by a wall of guitar noise which quickly drops out, to be replaced by whimsical keyboard effects, and... cowbell. The track is well-executed and stands up without vocals, dragged along by its drums, barely catching up with itself at each bar. ‘Dirty Tapping’ sounds a little like The Chemical Brothers, the vocals compressed and inaudible; something about letting it go, baby, and not being afraid to go straight, and bodies… who cares? It rocks, and when it runs out of steam, the next explosion of noise is only six seconds away. And so the album proceeds. The only track I would suggest avoiding is ‘Here Come the Warm Jets’; it seems like an excuse for a long track, killed by white noise that leads nowhere. In the best theme park Haunted House you’ve ever been into, ‘Here Come the Warm Jets’ is the bit leading up to the door, when you can see the light of the exit, and so the pop-up zombies don’t seem so scary anymore. Fans of The Mars Volta might be a little underwhelmed, fans of Sonic Youth might be a little intimidated… but fans of wild abandon needn’t look much further. After I’d finished ‘Hangover the Top’, I was probably as perplexed as the poor sound mixer, but it was an experience I would recommend to anyone. Maybe not twice. But it doesn’t need a second play. Photobucket