As we know, first times are always the most powerful: the shattering rush of revelation can only be experienced once. After that it’s all an inevitable, exhausting quest for repetition, a feverish search for the original shock, and pointless reiteration and accumulation poisoned by consciousness, analysis and age: and such a sensation keeps fading as we experience it. 2018’s garage band #1001 will look and sound the same as the preceding one, and leave you wondering – half-sorry, half-dismayed – how on earth listening to the Sonics and the Standells could electrify you back in the days. Likewise, you can count on the fingers of one hand the bands you’ve loved up until their 5th album like J.C. Satàn – almost ten years after falling in love. We all already know dudes who have “seen them too much”, heard them too much and stopped expecting anything from them anymore. Except that…
Except that those folks are in for a big-time surprise, as the Satàn crew did not deliver a 5th album just for the hell of it, just to justify their next tour: they got together to seek the rare fuel, the miraculous current able to galvanize our sleeping senses, the electroshock forcing us to revive the urgent impression of being alive. Centaur Desire has something of a new first-time record – recorded all together (Arthur and Dorian used to handle all instruments themselves), enhanced by an incredibly powerful sonority (gear has piled up over the last years), and filled with a new groove (Romain finally plays his drum parts, and it’s fantastic). Never where you’d expect it, Paula’s voice adds to the pervading climate of freshness.
A true panacea, in the alchemists’ sense – that universal remedy that gives sight back to the blind, hearing back to the deaf and youth back to old jaded bodies. A formula had to be found, that combines an undeniable talent for composition with devastating live fury – the laboratory residue of which, on the vinyl sieve, had always seemed a bit staid. Here it is, and some of this on-stage gold stabilized to get cut on record and reproduced endlessly until reaching our speakers. If the modern-era Nicholas Flamel extracting this yellow metal out of peat was called Josh Homme or Black Rebel Something, the whole world would be murmuring the ecstasy of court’s flatterers. At a time when the aforementioned bigwigs are composing a supposedly magnum umpteenth opus that smacks a lot of schlock, J.C. Satàn release something that dashes all of them with the cheerfulness of freaks and the Rabelaisian, farcical mirth of a horny centaur inviting us to Pan’s great farandole, in the setting of a Manowar sleeve. “CENTAUR DESIRE!” declaims a sonorous voice on the title song, just like one would invoke some demon/leviathan to lay low an army of muddy killer whales by hitting them with burning dildos. Like a superlative life, an explosion of springtime sap accompanying the great universal libidinous rush that seizes us in the cosmic shag or in the mosh pit.
No doubt the fact that this 5th album is their best one to date is quite uncommon and leads one to wonder. Light years away from barely-hatched bands that seem to find reward in a second-class access prime-time appearance playing a shortened version of their unique hit before docilely presenting the weather forecast between two cell phones ads, thus betraying their only ambition – to become TV hosts – J.C. Satàn took their time, worked and searched without sacrificing their ambitions on the altar of dayglo-tracksuit pop, on which the critique, hysterical by dint of its own pomposity, reveres each day a new genius. And when a killer such as “Complex Situation” is played on a TV set, we’ll see some dislocated host disappear through a puppet-theater trapdoor, and then be pulled from there with tears on his face: a first-time shock of this caliber really doesn’t hit one every day.