Blasting through your ears like a well-aimed sparkler, France’s NLF3’s new album is choc full of crackling, intergalactic melodies. Ride On A Brand New Time is a mind-exhausting musical space odyssey, encompassing everything from Can and Animal Collective to Sonic Youth: they even manage to add a dash of Joe Meek-style reverb for good cosmos-themed measure.
Their layered instrumental sound is unfortunately and rather unfairly bound to draw obvious comparisons to their touring partners and gods-of-the-awkward-noise, Battles. However, whereas Battles are all muscular rhythmic force, administering their robotic chrome-rock sound with razor sharp precision, the Parisians prefer an altogether more warm, playful sound, made up of lazy grooves, hypnotic fuzzy loops and DFA style bass-lines, making them at once instantly familiar but utterly distinctive and endlessly captivating.
As the spell-binding whirl of the addictive -Fuses Apes And Doppler’ gives way to the gurgling bleep of -Hurricane’ and the spikier, kinetic -Birds No Birds’, the band constantly shape-shift: at once, they are psychedelic krautrock, they are M83 without the shoe-gazey gloom laden melodrama, Stereolab without the drone, This Heat minus the pretension. They are all this but with brevity, a sense of style and more importantly fun. This is not the po-faced, over -earnest ‘sound of dying galaxies’ as the much missed John Peel once excitedly described Pink Floyd but the electrifying fizz of modern sussed pop. Yes, sometimes it still can sound like a keyboard falling down a lift-shaft but this keyboard is crashing to its demise with love.