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Deviant Pop

Margate, United Kingdom

Credit - Phil Pieters Smith

The latest album from French experimental artist, Sisyphes is ‘Deviant Pop’ and boy howdy does it live up to its name. The album is brash, cold, dark and enlightening. It throws new melodies at you so fast that you hardly have time to recover as the swirling menagerie of synths, guitars and the occasional piano ring roses around your head. Sprinkle in some extremely varied vocals, and heart-wrenching two-part harmonies and we’ve got ourselves a keeper. If you’re looking for some experimental pop to score your afternoon or have ever wondered what chillwave-french-Muse would sound like, give a little listen to ‘Deviant Pop’.

The album opens with ‘Nos Egos’ a chill/shoegaze style track that features dissonant drones played on an acoustic guitar which will soon become the giveaway for a Sisyphes track. The drone rolls on, undeterred by drums or melody or changes in pace, it remains sentinel and strikes an otherworldly balance within the tracks that feature this kind of droning. It's almost as if the whole song takes place in limbo, the space between dreams. Rattling guitar piled high with chorus and tremolo weave us through the spacey cloud to the point where the lyrics begin. They are breathy, casual and keep the tone chill as the drums tinkle on the stars above us, keeping the highs in check. An amazing opener with a sway-able chorus that makes you hungry for more.

‘Comète’ is a slower number. With a different vocal style, a slower tempo and chords played on pads that wash over you like cosmic ash, the song begins with a sigh and ends with a hum. It's a feeling of scale, a feeling of not belonging that ‘Comète’ gives to us. It's put across so well and it is an endlessly interesting soundscape to sit in. ‘Hispanie’ follows on from ‘Comète’ taking us back to the ‘Deviant Pop’ root of strange rock and synth clattering together over some cool-as-all-heck vocals. The song reads Beatles on the open, it thrashes and collides with a p-bass that skitters down Chrome Street with some crispy melodies. The drums follow suit and a wailing synth fills the air as the guitar joins in to rope the whole shebang together. It beefs up and reads like late-stage The Horrors songs. The two-part harmony in the chorus opens the song up, it cascades over itself in a clean and chaotic fashion that is captivating.

Now the drones have come to rule. ‘La Lassitude’ is a tone-fruit blender, it mashes together drones plucking from two guitars, they oscillate together and then come apart, meeting, running. The drums kick in and somehow it works and it's stunning. When the vocals chime in you lose the drone unless you look for it, ever-present and ominous in the back. The song is fast, features some dang great vocals and a catchy chorus that will stay with you for days, definitely my pick for the single. Here, the sound of Sisyphes comes into its own. It is the moment of eureka, the trigger. When the vocals take the lower mid, the drums pelt down the lows with the bass in tow; guitars echo out drones and open dissonant chords that shimmer and melt, that is when Sisyphes shines, that is ‘Deviant Pop’. These strategies and tones are used in ‘Nos Regrets’ to great funky success, an upbeat number that keeps the otherworldly vibe of the album. ‘Samsāra’ sits there also, it feels the most ‘Pop’ on the album, but don’t get comfortable as the Sisyphes vibe is there, it's just hiding in plain sight.

The album closes out with two clashing songs, the heavy and rocking, ‘Tu m’Indiffères’ which opens as it means to go on, loud and proud. The sounds bounce off the walls and melt into a puddle of funk at your feet, you splash in it long enough to watch it run down the effervescent drain before doing it all over again. Then the breathing, rushing, dragging pulses of ‘Surreal Art’ which is a great descriptor for ‘Deviant Pop’ and a

worthy close. It's smooth, melodic, challenging and smart. Sisyphes will be an artist that grows in inner circles and will punch out into the mainstream when they are ready. And by ‘they’ I mean the world. ‘Deviant Pop’ is a calamitous evolution of rock and synth-pop that yearns to be listened to.

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