Band Overview: Cheval De Frise

May 18, 2009

Thomas Bonvalet

Thomas Bonvalet

Say that you like math-rock but some is just too video gamey and on the other end its just too cutesy and not as technical, enter Cheval De Frise.  A french duo of acoustic guitar and drums that play some seriously excellent music.  The closest as far as bands go would be the obvious choice of Hella, and at times i would agree but its really a lazy comparison just because they have two members and change time signatures throughout a song.

Thomas Bonvalet’s guitar style is extremely varied in its attack.  Moving from gentle sporadic plucks to hyper composed math style riffing.  The overall melodies that he seems to favor are more spanish guitar type in comparison to the more obvious metal or indie style math rock that is more widely used.  This gives the music more of a relaxed feeling even through the faster sections. If i had to sum them up in a few words id say “crazed gypsy band that discovered hard bop” and even that falls short.

Vincent Beysselance can seemingly play anything anyone has ever imagined on drums.  This is (probably) untrue but listening to him play is really something that goes beyond impressive.  Sometimes he plays with the guitar and sometimes its as though he’s playing his own thing but it never sounds forced or bad.  His playing style is incredibly natural and flows just as well as thomas’ guitar.  If ever two people were meant to play together its these two.  Although they have sadly broken up it means nothing as they’ve left several releases of excellent material.

This is sporadic type music though with little in the way of structure so by no means go in thinking that its going to follow any sort of patterns. These guys take preexisting ideas and extend them for their own means, which is what i look for in my music.  Not a sense of breaking new ground because I cant even recall the last band to do that as it is certainly a rarity.

Both members seem to thrill in throwing musical curve balls in at every turn playing wrong notes on purpose or just dropping the beat entirely.  This is the kind of stuff missing from today’s musical climate.  Sometimes its more in what you dont say musically than what you do.  Honestly though isn’t surprise the thrill of art?  I tend to believe so and if i can get my art with some sick riffs and fills then even better .

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