Cyann & Ben
Happy Like An Autumn Tree (Locust Music / Gooom Disques)
By: Brady Brock
Parisian collective Cyann & Ben have followed up their magical debut Spring with an impressive mind trip of an album. Represented here is a huge development of confidence within their art. Where Spring took a considerable amount of patience for the payoff (worth it, mind you) Happy Like An Autumn Tree is more immediate, more...gasp! Pop. They still create ethereal, atmospheric, and melancholy landscapes, but it is now less about the journey getting to the stars.
The album's highlight is no doubt the offering "A Moment Nowhere", found directly in the center of the selections.
This is where the band takes their fondness of Dark Side Of the Moon-era Pink Floyd to new and more successful levels. Gone is the overwhelming restraint of their past compositions, Cyann & Ben finally sound like a band that has found it's own voice. It's hypnotic and melancholic and beautiful all at once.
Around the four and a half minute mark, the guitars gain prominence, the space opens up, and the listener is even treated to a Polyphonic Spree (minus the hippie posturing) like gospel complete with Oohs, Ahhs, and Bop Bops.
It sounds as if the shuttle is crashing at high speed towards the ocean, and it's goose bump inducing when played loud. Coincidently, the track it leads into is titled "Tide". "A Moment Nowhere" is worth the cost of admission alone, and is a true achievement. Another highlight is "Summer", reminiscent of Boards of Canada with Bert Jansch playing acoustic guitar.
This transcendent collection has so much atmosphere, by the time the final track ends, you've found yourself on another planet entirely... which is an honest description as pop music doesn't get much more space-aged than this.
No doubt gaining popularity through their Gooom label mate M83's sudden US success, Cyann & Ben are deemed for greatness. Happy Like an Autumn Tree is an immensely enjoyable collection of space rock and comes highly recommended.
Suggested Track: "A Moment Nowhere"
Try If You Like: Pink Floyd, Air, M83