Masters in France – Inhale EP Record Label: Bone Dry Records
Release Date: September 19, 2011
It’s not a mystery why rock and dance music should go together. Both are genres full of energy and incredible sonic power, and the powerful hooks of dance processed through the angular grit of rock can make for a potentially dynamite combination—if it’s placed in the right hands. In many ways, the two are a fake priest away from hooking up and getting hitched in Vegas.
North Wales group Masters in France have been working with this pairing, and their EP Inhale is the first fruit of their labor. And despite a few elements not coalescing as nicely as they could yet, this is a solid release that suggests more to come.
The songwriting here deserves credit, as it highlights the strengths of both rock and dance nicely. Opener “Mad Hatter” is easily the standout here, and it shows just what Masters in France has the potential to become; it features a strangely satisfying buildup leading into a pounding hurricane of a chorus, complete with stabbing guitar lines and a darkly intoxicating melody line. It’s a chart-topper in the making, its only fault being that it doesn’t last longer. The band balances both aspects very well, as evidenced on the rockier “Greyhounds”, which despite its rockier chorus and soaked guitar riff, still finds room for a groovy, grungy bridge in the middle of the proceedings.
Also commendable is the adrenaline rush fueling the music; even on the tracks where things don’t quite work, the band plays their hearts out, keeping the lights in the room on. “Orbitoclast” is a slow-burner of a track, building up with handclaps, tribal beats, and synths, but every aspect of the music is tuned to full volume, immersing us from the first note to the last.
Despite the all-around excellent polish, a few moments ring out as a bit hollow. “AI (Artificial Inches)” tries to weld together a rock song to the structure of a dance track, and ends up fulfilling neither goal. The track features a few nice musical tangents, but feels disjointed and forgettable in the overall context of the EP.
Every band starts somewhere, and Inhale is an auspicious beginning that showcases the strengths of the field Masters in France are playing in. Is it possible that they could end up taking over the charts by this time next year? That’s a high wager any way you stack it, but if this release is any indication, I’d mark my calendars just to see what happens.
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