They say that familiarity breeds contempt so it seems entirely reasonable to likewise assume that unfamiliarity – as evidenced by my lack of knowledge of Nour or their former existence as Tasty Granny – would bring forth a certain respect and, after considered listening to their album “Vain Bleak and Ironic”, that respect could well be considered justified.
“Vain Bleak and Ironic” is an unusual title for an album but I suppose that when a band is a purveyor of quasi-intellectual music replete with thoughtful posturing then they would perhaps tire of any accusations of self-importance and circular relevance. However, Nour - Bastien Torre, François Rosenfeld and Thomas Leuwers – dig deeper than most into the abyss of musical relevance for their songs and, in the process, free themselves of esoteric entrapments and, with their clearly evident musical dexterity, strut confidently through math-rock and art-rock towards the nirvana of cosmic consciousness and noteworthy drama. This is, as you might imagine, something beyond the capabilities of the best computers and, as Nour blast themselves towards a brighter future, the sheer precision of all that they do becomes all the more admirable and worthy of respect.
Best song? The jagged and offbeat “Pretty Tale”.
The verdict? Entirely convincing, an album that is as much for the mind as the heart.