Don’t worry, be happy. Take the pills and smile for tomorrow will undoubtedly bring another purchasing opportunity. Live any dream you want as long as The Man sells it. It is perhaps the way of the modern world yet, as if to contradict all that compliance enforced joy, French cold wave duo Lovataraxx instead follow the locked to the loop yellow brick road to the new dystopia with their album “Hébéphrénie”.
While their oppressive and heavily sequenced approach might well seem diametrically opposed to any form of happiness or, for that matter, sunlight, Lovataraxx are more than stewards at the gates of hell and their album is certainly not an example of eternal torment with the non-voice lost in the synthetic darkness proving to be merely a stylistic choice for, as the lyrics develop into a story, it becomes clear that there is more than retro dancefloor domination in this band’s masterplan.
The robotic presentation of these eleven songs – and is the count of eleven merely a coincidence as biblical scholars identify eleven as the number that symbolises chaos and judgement? – cunningly conceals greater things such as oblique social commentary with “Ana Venus”, in particular, easily escaping its synth pop confines to stare us all straight in the mirror. “Sidewalk”, as another example, looks outside the good life at the incongruities of a time when everyone supposedly has everything whilst the song itself remains resolutely and nefariously melodic.
Deeper and darker than the rest, Lovataraxx, as it turns out, have no real desire to dominate the dancefloor but, by using the time honoured terpsichorean mechanism of hypnotism through repetition, they reveal more of the world around us than the supposed poets of organic folk music will ever do. Be happy!
Best song? It has to be "Ana Venus".
The verdict? Substance and style.