Let me tell you; with this EP, Pauwels are not just another band that bring their soul baby to the dissection table. “Elina” is a child that bathes in a bouquet of unsettling feelings and impressions. The rustling of her dress resonates a mighty death rattle in the undercrofts of the earth. Countess Erzsébet Báthory is in her manners, the machine art of Francis Picabia in her gait, and in her gaze we find the call of Cthulu himself. “Elina” merges the unnerving horror of “Tales of Mystery and Imagination” with the spacial asphyxiation of Franz Kafka’s entire œuvre, into 28 minutes of instrumental sludgy math rock.
RELEASE DATE: 26 January 2015 LABEL: October Tone Club
In my mind, Pauwels have managed to catapult themselves from unbeknownst to world class act within a time span of three weeks; these five Frenchmen are a fine set of musicians that have an intricate nose for noise, excellence and occult writers. In the case of “Elina”, influence came from the life and works of Louis Pauwels, a Belgian-French writer notorious for his writings on the occult and fantastic realism. Together with Jacques Bergier, this Pauwels guy wrote a book called “Le Matin des Magiciens”, and together with his “Planete” magazine, Pauwels created a counterculture that became the catalyst of the band’s inspiration.
The musicianship on this EP is almost without equal. To my utter delight, the band comprises two drummers whose sound is magnificent like a gyroscope. Both percussionists are surprisingly well-adapted to each other. Their playing is so tight that I suspected their parts to be overdubbed by one person, though in the end I wouldn’t care about either, as this is and EP that transcends the garage rock ethic into the realm of thoughtful artistic composition. The song “Pendule” for example is a diabolic masterpiece where pulsating guitars and gobsmacking drums morph the rhythmical ticking of time into the turning wheels of a steam-powered train. As a second example we have “Beelzebub” showing off a glimpse of grandeur that really only Swans have managed to endow me with. This, in conclusion, as a living proof that Pauwels are capable of so much more than they’ve shown us with this EP.
“Elina” will very likely be the summit of instrumental rock this year, and most definitely an example for the coming years. The music is genuinely unsettling and after the eerie “Intro” track, and at the first cymbal crash of “La Une”, you simply know you’re in for something good. With “Elina”, Pauwels have shed what post-rock influences they had on their self-titled debut album, to become a world class act capable of a rock ‘n roll greatness we haven’t seen in a long time.