SO COLD STREAMS
During the 1990s, wherever you lived in France, there was a handful of bands you could see 5 or 10 times a year - sometimes almost by mistake. Bands who played so much, all the time, everywhere, that you would stumble upon them every three months. In the most remote and rural places of the country, they inspired tons of kids to start their own band or fanzine, to go for something different. It was more than just music. It was a spirit, an idea. Something that made you look at the world with a different perspective.
Now the rules have changed. Music no longer has the same importance, the bands we come across 5 or 10 times a year - sometimes almost by mistake - are not the right ones anymore, and the kids from the most remote and rural places of the country have better to do than forming bands or starting fanzines. But the spirit and the idea are still there. And in the last 10 years, in France, no one encapsulated them better than Frustration.
Like all these bands, we’ve seen Frustration on stage 5, 10, 100 times - sometimes almost by mistake. And because we're not the same either - more informed, more busy, more jaded, less easily impressionable - we all said at one point that we were through with it, that their schtick was definitely getting old. But with each new show, each new record, we went back, full-on. Because the fire was still burning, because the passion was still intact, because they were not pretending to be something that they were not. Because somewhere in most remote and rural places of the country, some kids still need to look at the world with a different perspective.
But still, no one was expecting a record such as So Cold Streams.
At this stage, Frustration could have easily played it safe releasing a record basically identical to the previous one, intense, abrasive, honest but with no risk. They could have continued to fill the venues with no complaints. They could have prepared their slow but inevitable exit. But right from the very first seconds of "Insane", a humoungous electro-punk monster that wouldn’t have been out of place on an 1988 EBM EP, you realize that things aren’t gonna go as planned. Instead of setting up a comfortable routine, Frustration recorded its fifth album as if it were the first, like a bunch of guys who’ve been playing together for 6 months, who have nothing to lose and a ferocious will to bite.
Of course, post-punk shenanigans is still there (martial drums, elastic bass, hit-and-run guitars), but So Cold Streams is full of a brand new energy, raucous lyrics and full-on audacity. Take a liste to « Brume" is an industrial nightmare with lyrics screamed in French. Or the poppy and intimate "Lil' White Sister" sounds surprisingly like the Smiths or Echo & The Bunnymen. Or the insane "Slave Markets" on which the band invited Jason Williamson, half of Sleaford Mods - a band that was pivotal in Frustration's new found youth. "Sleaford Mods is a band that, musically and humanly, gave us a real boost," explains Fabrice Gilbert (vocals). They gave us a real sense of freedom, it allowed me to really say everything I wanted to say in my lyrics, to talk about extremely intimate subjects as well as much more general things, whether it be political or social. So Cold Streams is, paradoxically perhaps, our most disillusioned, energetic and free record. »
That observation is perfectly summarized by the cover of the record, painted like all the previous ones by french artist Baldo, and which represents a machine tarring a road through a wheatfield. A painting made more than 15 years ago and which was originally intended to be the cover of Full Of Sorrow, Frustration's first album. For a renaissance, there could have been no better and more emblematic choice. Especially since the whole album is contained within the image : there’s space, strength, light, rage and disgust too. A desire to destroy everything. To make a clean slate. To come with something different. A little more than music. A spirit, an idea. Something that makes you look at the world with a different perspective.