Label: Dirty Water Records - Released: November 2015
So, you’re telling me that this band is from this very present. Like, from the now? Hmm… Let’s just say I believe you. *wink*
The Arrogants are five, allegedly from our lifetime, really cool French teenagers,who already supported such notables like The Pretty Things and Lenny Kravitz. Their album was produced by Healer Selecta (aka Yvan Serrano of The Dustaphonics), recorded at the studio of the National Belgian Corporation in just three days, and mastered by Pete Maher (The Killers, Rolling Stones, U2 and Jack White).
The Arrogants consist of Thomas Babczynski in the rhythm guitar and vocals, Louis Szymanowski in the bass, Martin Tournemire in the organ, Hugo El Hadeuf in the drums, and Emilian Mierzejewski in the solo guitar.
This sound is garage in its most raw form. And, although, The Arrogants like to explore Mod 1960’s sounds, Psychedelic, Blues, and RnB, you still feel that, in this album, there’s no place for flourishes of any kind– neither deep psychedelic hues nor intransigent solos shouting out of the boxes. This album is simple, minimal and gutturally authentic garage rock. Now you can see why I’m not falling for the whole “they’re from now” thing. But hey, let us acquiesce and just nod: “Oh yes, yes, but of course.”
The Arrogants’ sound is, well, arrogant, but in the most delicious way possible. It is spontaneous, wild and in your face. Thank goodness they are, supposedly, this young, for their naivety helps bring out an organic and captivating unpolished album. Ain’t no time to decorate that one. And we thank them for it.
“No Time To Wait” starts with lovely simple chords followed quickly by a rhythmic organ. And it is as urgent as the title suggests. When you first hear the vocals you think, “Ok, this is some bloke who went to school with Mick Jagger.” I can imagine him playing defiantly with his micro whilst sticking his tongue out. And this image stays throughout the album, even when I know it’s not quite so.
“Move” and “Flashing Lights” are fast and loud. Their speed shifts keep us on our toes. Along with a nice punk chorus at the very end, “Flashing Lights” is the more danceable of the two.
The beginning of “I’m No Fucking Mozart” is not from today. No matter what they tell me. No, no and no. The organ is the major melody maker, the rest gets its back perfectly and the vocals give the final soft touch. While listening to “Too Much Lies,” I can’t stop being fixated with the vocals. It is all about them in this tune. Husky, infuriated, fed-up Thomas is singing straight to that not-so-special-anymore someone. It is powerfully sincere and innocent.
“The Arrogants Theme” is a groovy, ooh là là so very French, instrumental with sweet arrogant laughs. In “Velocity,” harmonica comes to the rescue. And, surprise, surprise, they still keep their un-tempered clear sixties sound, whilst embracing a more R&B tonality. With “Santraa,” they psyche out a tiny little bit with the help of a coy but insistent sitar.
“UFO” plays in a spaceship. Don’t ask me how they got one, but, then again, if they have managed to time travel to our time, I suppose anything is possible. They decided to keep it instrumental because the aliens wouldn’t understand the language anyway. And kept it short too, which is perfectly comprehensible. After all, do aliens even know what’s good music?
“Mr. Devil” doesn’t go far from The Arrognant’s mold: fuzzy, relentless and just hella fun. To end a perfect trip, comes a soft song, “I’m Gonna Leave You,” that gives room to each and every instrument in the band, which is a pretty nice goodbye.
The Arrogants might have come from the sixties to please our ears, but I hope we’re interesting enough for them to want to stay here. But hey, if they do know time travel, The Arrogants can come and go as they please, so long as we get to hear their pure and raw garage sound on the stages of today.
Cheers, me hearties, and don’t forget to hug the music.
By Penelope York