tue 05/07/2022

CD: Super Besse - La Nuit* | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Super Besse - La Nuit*

CD: Super Besse - La Nuit*

Top-drawer Belarusian post-punk? You’d better believe it

Super Besse are from the Republic of Belarus, Europe’s sole dictatorship – a country where freedom of expression and opportunities for individual self-determination are limited. As there’s little musical infrastructure in their home country, the label they are on is Latvia’s leading independent imprint. Despite the obstacles, the Minsk-based trio – named after a French ski resort – have played across mainland Europe. La Nuit* is their second album.

Given where they are from, Super Besse would be notable whatever the nature of their music. However, what they deal in and how they put it over renders them notable in any context. La Nuit* opens with “Predlogenie”, an insistent yet supple workout where rubber-band, no-tone bass, distant keyboards and a declamatory vocal combine to form an unexpectedly romantic whole. Yearning clouds the album.

As it moves on, an album suffused with sadness beds in as the soundtrack to fidgety distraction, born from either loss or obsession. What Super Besse are actually singing about is, for non-Russian speakers, impossible to tell. The booklet with La Nuit* includes all the lyrics. In Cyrillic.

Although Joy Division usually crop up whenever the band are written about, it’s not an accurate comparison. Whether knowingly or not, when seen live Super Besse actually draw a line between Leeds’ post-punks Red Lorry Yellow Lorry, the very early Sisters of Mercy (also from Leeds) and D.A.F. with light nods to the squelchy pulse of early acid house. On the smoother La Nuit*, Liverpool’s Modern Eon and the early Modern English are in there too. Whatever the possible touchstones, with Super Besse and their dreamy, out-of-focus album, undeniably rooted in the mid-Eighties, Belarus has found its best ambassadors.

Overleaf: watch the video for “Doroga Domoi” from Super Besse’s La Nuit*

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