17 At This Time / Tokkoubana

Rating:  B-    Dwnld: Everything I Touch,  Angel

When trying to explain Seventeen At This Time, one only needs to look upon the tags the band itself has labeled some of its songs. Motorcycle Mambo, porn grooves, sacrificial ceremony anthem, and political polka are just a few of my personal faves. Even on their Facebook page they have called themselves Nightmare Pop which is fitting like a straight jacket to Jack Nicholson.

Tokkoubana peels back the veil of Seventeen At This Time with Bauhaus-inspired Kamikaze. The delicate and fuzz-amplified guitar work leaves the listener questioning if they are in a dream of smoke and emptiness or if this is really reality. Frederic Engel Lenoir vocals have a Rozz Williams/ Peter Murphy quality to it.  He has the distinct talent to convey the emotions of his words  with ease through his delivery and you can almost taste the pain in his voice.

17 at this time

 Everything I Touch Goes Wrong is the most complete song, though there are some others that will find its way into your head. The Grass is Always Browner reminds me of a lost track to London After Midnight’s Selected Scenes of the End of the World. While atmospheric in its own way, Raphael Deur’s small solo parts are inventive and sensual which seem to carry the song. The balance between Frederic and the samples on this record are like a Beatles reunion in the afterlife. They work off each other, hence like John and Paul did, as the rhythm sweeps around him. This gives of a vibe of closeness to the band that some are not able to achieve. Angel holds down the back half of the album, with forceful percussion and aderall-addicted guitars. While Frederic will get a lot of the credit to the band’s success due to his distinct voice, the band itself must be feed some as well. Le Charme Discret…  , named after a surrealist film from 1972 directed by Luis Brunel, it is a perfect example of this. Raphael (guitar) & Roland (drummer) take from The Cure’s Faith and Seventeen Seconds album and fill our eardrums with melodic but chaotic sound. Any vocals would only take away from the core heart of the song in my opinion.  I applaud them for keeping this instrumental (yes I know there are voice samples) and allowing the rawness of the band to breathe.

Seventeen At This Time will become favorites for many that have longed for the days of 80’s and early 90’s dark rock. If you ever owned Christian Death’s Only Theater of Pain or Rosetta Stone’s Foundation Stones then you should have no problem slipping this into your collection.

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