Finally, an avant-prog album geared toward meditation, transporting listeners to a fluffy bed of clouds and infinite peaceful vibrations. Just kidding. New age bliss is clearly not the realm of 2014's Brossaklit, the third album and AltrOck label debut by Poil, a Lyon, France-based trio comprising keyboardist/composer Antoine Arnera, bassist/guitarist Boris Cassone, and drummer Guilhem Meier. The ten-plus-minute leadoff track, "Fionosphère," begins with buzzing synth transforming into abrasive static before pounding drums, noisy overdriven keys, rumbling bass, and psychotic drill sergeant shouted vocals take over, in turn leading to comparatively understated but spooky insistent ostinatos and tense layered riffs, drones, and arpeggiated chords. Then the chanting arrives -- ritualistic, demon-conjuring stuff suggesting downtuned Magma, although the "lyrics" (helpfully written in cursive amidst the album's artwork of fantastical primitivist erotica) are in "traditionnel Japonais," not Kobaïan. An onslaught of angular unison keys and bass over pummeling rhythms interrupts the voices, and then Poil begin to reveal the sheer absurdity at the heart of their music, with pitch-bent synths and fractured beats, lo-fi noise, and hard-charging mechanistic robot rock under animated chanting of "You blitz you blitz oka you blitz you blitz oka oka oka..." (not to mention "SAKE! SAKE! SAKE! SAKE!" and "...fuck it now fuck it fuck it fuck it...."). Poil eventually work their way back to the tune's dark ritualism, but the music seems more smirk- than chill-inducing by the time "Fionosphère" reaches its whacked-out squelchy finish.
The trio delivers more rapid-fire nonsense vocals during the driving title track, attacking words and syllabic fragments with hyper enthusiasm, chattering "mi mi mi mi mi mi mi mi mi mi" in several of the more discernable moments. "Patachou," another ten-plus-minute track, deserves mention for its buzzsaw sonics, altogether fitting German-language chants, and unhinged vocal outbursts near the finish, while "Mao" is the closest Poil will likely ever come to a single, with a dance-rock beat, rippling sequenced synths, a rather hooky refrain, and even an angelic Beach Boys-esque harmony vocal interlude. Dog lovers might take exception to the manifesto of human supremacy that is "Goddog," with lyrics demanding that canines worship people as supreme beings and proclaiming our four-legged friends to be "wretched little shits," while "Pikiwa," over 14 minutes long, segues from assaultive stops and starts (with a brief time-out for cosmic synth droning) into protracted steady bludgeoning, filled with syncopated static and high swooping synth tones before body function effects, group babbling and enthusiastic shouts, and abrasive off-kilter keyboard and bass bursts carry the track out. After all that, the concluding "La Balade des Minouchoux" -- entirely sans vocals! -- seems almost delicate in its circular layering of instruments, even as it builds up to and away from chunky rhythms and the sort of thick heavy pounding heard elsewhere. Some may feel that Poil try just a bit too hard to be outrageous on Brossaklitt, but all will likely agree they are outrageously talented as well. ~ Dave Lynch