Underground Sounds: Spleen XXX – ‘Poems of Charles Baudelaire’

Label: Nomosdei
Band: Spleen XXX
Origin: France

Some labels instantly convey a sense of wonder and Nomosdei is one of them. Otherworldly sounds, uncommon music, regardless of trends, and fashion. Their recent release of Spleen XXX is a great example. Did you ever imagine the poetry of Baudelaire set to chilling post-punk music? I didn’t, but it makes a ton of sense.

The French band has dabbled with some themes and directions, but for this they’ve they’ve embraced the abject in art on ‘Poems of Charles Baudelaire’. The wanderer through the storms of the modern world, the delirium of these times and despair of the hopelessness it brings. Cold beats, cold hards, magical words. Let’s go. If you are keen to read the poetry of Baudelaire along with the tracks, find it here.

Notable is that the band has chosen to deliver their lyrics in English, instead of the original French poetry. It adds to the post-punk vibe the cold, distorted beats already display on opener ‘The Possessed’. The neurotic riffing keeps buzzing around your head as the repetition captures the listener. Slowly the sound swells on a track like ‘Spleen’, towards a more grandiose and rise of hope, but soon falls back on the solid bass lines and beats. After the intensity of those tracks, ‘The Hair’ offers seething lust, a yearnful idolation under the flat surface of the song.

It’s not too hard to see the connection of the Spleen XXX sound to that of their main progenitor, which is Joy Division. Maybe there’s a bit more of that goth swagger of The Sisters of Mercy in there. The hard-hitting beats, twangy, polished guitars and monotonous vocals always hit the spot. My favorite Baudelaire poem would have to be ‘A Carcass’, which is a sung in a gibbering tone (with a peculiar pronunciation). It guides the listener to the end of an intriguing record, that may or may not be your thing. I’m at the end of it still in doubt if I feel the full richness of the poetry in the coldness of the sound.