‘Queer Sadcore’ (Kabbel said it not me!)
I stole the ‘sounds like’ catchphrase directly from Kabbel’s own bio because it fits his music perfectly. French multi-instrumentalist Gregory Hoepffner is involved in loads of projects (including Jean Jean which I am already a fan of) but for Kabbel, he is stepping out on his own. Mixing harsh and aggressive industrial pop with dramatic vocals and heavy synths – its a club world turned horror movie.
‘End of Norms’ is a four track EP that showcases just how harsh and devil glittered the music is. Opening track ‘Lights Go Out’ lets you in on the ‘cone blown’ effect of guitars, synths and drums. Every sound has been damaged in some way to make it gurgle or scream. It is a cold, metallic angry world that Kabbel resides in and his voice reminds me of Erasure. It is strong, defiant and often layered as it moans and bellows across the hostile musical landscape. This is best showcased with ‘Young Again’ which is like a slow-motion nightclub train wreck. As more synth arpeggios twist out of tune and girthy bass synths gyrate and stab forward, everything feels dark and dangerous.
‘Tied’ is the most experimental track of the EP. It is a chaotic blend of revolving synth and bass lines that feel stolen from a dystopian movie. It feels very Terminator, which is no bad thing. The EP then closes with the fantastic ‘No More XTC’. Here a pizzicato string arrangement has been reverbed to death to make it heavy and full of dread. Kabbel then builds a choir of himself around the strings and drone synths to create a heady drowning star choir vibe. This then all fades away to a more acoustic version of the song playing in the background. The production tricks here are fantastic and elevate the sadcore music to something with a lot more gravitas.
‘End of Norms’ is a fantastic debut from a musician who is skilled at so many things. Gregory can do rock, electronica, new wave, build an orchestra and choir, purge some personal demons and go clubbing all in about 15 minutes. What is not to love? I can’t wait to hear more of where Kabbel goes next as this is dream start.
Recommended track: Young Again
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