Rafale are a trio from France who you are going to be hearing a lot about, if of course you haven’t heard of them before, they are about to release their debut album ‘Obsessions’ on Rising Records and it has been produced by none other than Arnaud Rebotini, who pretty much invented rock/electro vogue of the past way before Justice had even touched a synth.
As soon as we fired up ‘Obsessions’ we knew we were in for a real treat it’s an intense and overpowering concoction of bad-ass synths, electro rock and snappy vocals.
The album doesn’t mess around with the opening track ‘Everglades’ as it slaps you in the face with effects, driving beats and a rather terrifying screaming vocoded vocals, the perfect start in every sense of the word.
‘Beyond Bad’ treads similar ground but goes for a more melodic vibe, the synth drenched vocals are a piece of genius, then the tracks settles into a lovely piece of dark demonic rock electro, with just the mere suggestion of a disco vibe.
Following on ‘Life In Mono’ is an early stand-out track, twisted electro, plump kicks and very catchy simple vocals – we’ve probably not heard an album intro as good as this for a long time.
The programming and touches from Monsieur Rebotini are truly stunning, he’s quite clearly found the perfect project to exercise his knowledge and he has taken electro distortion to the next level, it literally bleeds from every beat and bar.
Just when you need a break for your bleeding ears ‘Never Ever’ welcomes you with its warm open arms, a perfect reprieve from the relentless opening salvo.
‘L’Animale marks the half way point and doesn’t disappoint in any way, more expert programming and synths combine with a very cool female vocal, not a million miles away from Atari teenage Riot, then it builds to splendid crescendo and the payoff is just perfect. No other words are really needed.
‘Eraser’ sets your speaker to melting mode, and it’s one of the standout tracks, but to be honest it’s all amazing, but we could definitely see this pulverising dancefloors the world over. If there was ever a Bang-alter – then this would be it.
Rafale throws in a curve ball in the form of ‘End Less Disco’ which does exactly what you expect, well, that’s not strictly true, it none of this limp-wristed Belgium disco but demonic French disco, the evil twin brother, if you will, and to be honest it blew our mind. So good, in so many ways.
‘Bad Obsession’ takes the vibe down a notch or two, and creates a lovely piece of synthy pop, but it still manages to pack more than enough of a punch. Then toward then end it exploded into a rock-induced piece of electro – a mesmerising track from start to finish.
The final swan song comes in the shape of the analog monster ‘Cold Night’ which looks to take you one final wild ride, distortion is the name of the game and ‘Cold Night’ delivers from start to finish.
We can’t come up with enough superlatives for this album, quite how much is down to Rafale or the genius of Arnuad Rebotini is unclear, but to be honest, it doesn’t matter. It references and builds upon everything that is amazing about French music; from the distortive beats and synths of Vitalic, the rock influences of Justice, the intensity of SebastiAn and the infamous of vocodes of Daft Punk.
It has it all, but it’s just, bigger, louder and faster, and more intricate – definitely an early contender for album of the year.
It’s not the sort of album you would unwind to, quite the opposite, it’s a wild ride of electro and is sure to blow your socks off. The level of programming and detail will certainly make you want to come back for more, it just keeps giving, and that’s the true test of any great album, and ‘Obsessions’ is a great album in every sense of the word.
HBF Rating 10/10
Grab a freebie as well, the amazing Commuter remix of ‘Everglades’
Released by: Rise Recordings
Release date: Apr 18, 2011
Check out the amazing video for Everglades too which is out now !