Larme Secrete marks the first collaboration between the veteran duo of Marc Hurtado and Pascal Comelade (whose toy instrument work I’ve encountered before). Sometimes new pairings can feel instantly assured, as though they’ve been collaborating for years, while sometimes the artists can end up playing it safe and being friendly, which can result in less experimental or less energetic output. With this album, it feels like a bit of both has happened. Comelade takes on the instrumental duties, with Hurtado out front on vocals and ‘sounds’, and a handful of extra musicians drafted in for guitar and drum work. The result is somewhere on the soppier, more lazy-afternoon side of avantgarde rock.
“Eclair” has a singular groove and vitality reminiscent of old Silver Apples tracks, and as an opener, indicates a shared understanding and sets out the album’s stall with good effect. Much successful play is made of the contrast between the steady energy of Comelade’s music and the slow, abstract (and at times frankly old-sounding) lyrics from Hurtado. The swaggering organ of “Eté” plays nicely against Hurtado’s breath-heavy vocalisations.
However some tracks, like the long but not mesmerising “Infini”, feel overly easy and unchallenging, with Hurtado’s spaced-out poetry echoing at length over a repetitive light rock groove that doesn’t quite manage to carry you along with it. “Or” stretches the aforementioned contrast in energy levels to its logical limit, so that when followed by similar-sounding “Cri”, it starts feeling a little bit ‘done’. Strongest among the downtempo pieces is “Spirale”, where the moody atmospherics and storytelling fit together just right.
It’s a rewarding collaboration, certainly a little on the safe side but wonderfully moody.