Nov 07, 2022
By Andy Von Pip
CIEL are based in Brighton, UK, with members hailing from The Netherlands, Spain, and the UK. The band’s latest EP, Not in the Sun, Nor in the Dark, demonstrates their perspicacious ability to traverse genres, mixing a melodic pop sensibility with some beautifully brutal grungy shoegaze-flecked guitar riffs. Despite downsizing from a four-piece to a trio, with frontwoman Michelle Hindriks switching from guitar to bass, their music sounds more expansive than ever. The EP opens with the urgent rush of “Back to the Feeling,” which has a hint of Stereolab and vocally perhaps a touch of Lush. Driving guitars, aggressive drumming, and Hindriks’ euphonic vocals all combine to perfection and create a beautifully crafted slice of dream pop about looking back to a time when life forever appeared to be lived vividly “in the moment.”
Previous single “Fine Everything,” which arrived back in March 2022 and introduced us to CIEL’s supercharged new sound, is a driving slice of evocative ’90s-infused grunge pop, replete with an agitated and insanely catchy chorus. Thematically it appears to address anxieties about making leaps of faith rather than pragmatic decisions when you’re on the cusp of adulthood and wondering how to negotiate this strange new terrain.
The EP’s title track slows things down slightly and the meditative almost carefree melodies mask the darker lyrical themes within. CIEL close proceedings with a majestic flourish in the form of the explosive, pummeling beauty of “Far Away’” a perfect juxtaposition of raging guitars with celestial vocals. It’s a fabulous EP produced by Blood Red Shoes’ Steven Ansell who seems to be a perfect fit for the band in terms of drawing out the raw essence and propulsive power of their songs. (www.facebook.com/cielmusic)
Author rating: 8/10
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