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Weend'ô – You Need To Know Yourself (Reissue)

Weend'ô
You Need To Know Yourself (Reissue)
by Santiago Puyol at 09 May 2019, 1:59 AM

WEEND'Ô are a Prog Rock/Metal band from Agen, France, formed in 2008. “You Need to Know Yourself” is their 2012 debut album, remixed in 2014 and re-released this year, following their sophomore album “Time of Awakening” in 2017. Most of the songs here get an extended length, from a few more seconds to a couple minutes longer. Although most songs feature lengthy instrumental sections, it’s clear that Laetitia Chaudemanche vocals are the centerpiece in the album, and they surely are one of the highlights of the band, setting them apart from some of their most clear influences like PINK FLOYD, TOOL or PORCUPINE TREE.

“Dark Element” starts out of the bat with a very PORCUPINE TREE-like melody, evoking the “Stupid Dream” era of that band. The higher range of Chaudemanche’s vocals shine on the wordless chorus. There’s a strong Alternative Rock vibe in here, something that reappears on several points of the album. The build-up towards the guitar solo at the end is simply epic, bringing a few folky flourishes from the guitar playing. Atmospheric keyboards open “Experience”, a dramatic song anchored on a groovy drum-and-bass pattern and almost theatrical lead guitar. The heavier chorus makes for a nice contrast, feeling powerful against the soft, at points ambient-like instrumental of the verses.

The PINK FLOYD influences come to the forefront on “Betrayal”, the longest song on the record being a little over nine and a half minutes. There’s a strong “Division Bell” sound, especially on the first two thirds of the song, with great usage of programmed percussion and moody synths. Maxime Rami plays some intriguing, intricate runs on the bass, adding a groovy nature to the track. The last third of the song takes a Post-Rock route, with delayed, spidery guitars, before climaxing on an epic solo on the last minute and a half. “Run Away” moves between “Fear of a Blank Planet”-era PORCUPINE TREE vibes and Tori Amos-esque piano sections, in which Chaudemanche gets to show off her instrumental chops. The layering of guitar tracks on this song is simply superb, while the sparse use of distortion on an almost staccato way gives a “contained chaos” feel to it. “Run Away” sounds as if someone were on the brink of losing their mind and barely holding on.

The electronic intro of the title track feels closer to early 2000’s MARILLION, while an organ-like synth provide a funky flourish to the chorus. Chaudemanche pays homage to Rick Wright with a synth solo from 4:05 to 4:25 minutes. A lovely piano coda ends things on a nostalgic note before moving into the most aggressive song on the album: “Welcome to my Mind”. A playful 6/8 time signature keeps things swingy. “Deadline”, the other 9+ minute song on the album stays Post-Rockish for the first two thirds, give or take a couple heavy moments and a few spoken words by Chaudemanche. Things take a left turn around the six-and-a-half-minute mark, where a repetitive bass pattern emerges and Nathanaël Buis starts playing in a frantic way, almost like a dog off the leash. The drum solo never gets tiring as it’s accompanied by the rest of the instruments and even some vocal improvisations. It’s one of the most unique moments of the album. The band seems to be channelling CAN, albeit on their on way.

Things get to a lovely, quite different closer with the piano ballad “The Soulmate”. It’s a lovely song, closer to the works of Tori Amos or even Fiona Apple at their most vulnerable. Chaudemanche’s lower range gets a moment to shine on this track, with little more than piano and lush synth-strings as instrumental backup. It’s a breathtaking, subdue closer. The “original” versions of “Dark Element” and “Experience” that are added at the end feel interesting enough to merit a couple of listens, but it should be recognized that the “single” versions that get the album started feel absolutely integrated to the record.

The production is more than satisfying, adding to the music in general but it has a few missteps. Some instruments are weirdly mixed at points, for example, the volume of the guitar on the title track is a little low. Overall, “You Need To Know Yourself” is an amazing record, that plays a little too close to its influences at times but still manages to bring new elements to the table. If you didn’t get it the first time around, this reissue is a great opportunity.

Songwriting: 8
Originality: 7
Memorability: 7
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Dark Element (single version)
2. Experience (single version)
3. Betrayal 4. Run Away
5. You Need to Know Yourself
6. Welcome in My Mind
7. Deadline
8. The Soulmate
9. Experience (original version)
10. Dark Element (original version)
Lineup:
Laetitia Chaudemanche — Vocals, keyboards, lyrics
Terence N'Guyen Van — Guitar, arrangements
Maxime Rami — Bass
Nathanaël Buis — Drums
Record Label: Sonic Bond Records
     


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Edited 22 August 2019
 

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