Way back in the days of the distant past, I recall working with a guy who had a catchphrase. I don’t suppose he thought it was a catchphrase at the time, yet it certainly seemed that way. His catchphrase – uttered in every one of his many moments of uncertainty – was “What’s it all about?”. Funny how things pop into your mind but they do and duly they did as I Iistened to “Pantophobie” by French noise rockers Ni.
“Pantophobie” is an instrumental album of notable precision that, whilst alternatively languorous and aggressive in tone, highlights the confident performance of a band that will never run in to the trap of making a song accessible simply for convenience or potential airplay. The title of the album translates as “fear of everything” yet Ni are a band that seem designed to stand tall and fear no one and, if they were to add a posturing vocalist out front, then the band might even be considered members of some intelligent, arthouse oriented, subgenre of metal. Their musical skills and twisted imagination would, however, soon outrun any potential competitors.
Are Ni the kind of band that you would take home to meet your mother? Perhaps not. Their angular and sometimes downright didactic approach to a song would likely scare your mother and, simultaneously, alienate any worshippers of computer polished plastic music in the vicinity. If, however, you like your music to have both purpose and the momentum of a runaway train then “Pantophobie” should be added to your playlist.
Best song? The downright edgy “Catagelophobie”.
And what’s it all about? Yes, it is.