France’s Lorem Ipsum Perform Striking Neo-Classical Screamo On New Full-Length

Vivre encore — a striking new album from the French trio Lorem Ipsum — sounds like little else.

The group performs vibrant neo-classical music that includes hoarsely screamed vocals like those found in post-hardcore and screamo. The instrumentals include a violin, keys, and a guitar that occasionally takes a prominent place in the mix but never really takes control. Instead, for much of the runtime of Vivre encore, the violin and keys rest at the center of the group’s musical presentation, and the music feels instantly fresh and thoroughly compelling.

Frequently, the violin parts waver with a kind of haggard emotion, as though translating some of the more dramatic rhythmic flourishes of screamo into a neo-classical context. Although traditional helpings of neither drums nor bass ever emerge in these songs, the sound feels very full and powerful. There’s a slight theatrical feeling in the sound thanks to the sometimes rather forcefully dramatic dynamic swings and the urgency in some of the melodies, but the music remains quite emotionally grounded and fundamentally accessible. The instrumentals feel unencumbered — instead, these songs feel quite direct, which allows the freshness of the sound and the poignancy of the melodies to really shine.

Dynamically, the violin parts are frequently rather brisk. “Damoclès,” which opens the album, features some of these fast violins, and the windy violins reappear on the following track, “Andrée,” after an increasingly electrifying build-up. That latter song begins with a rather mournful segment in which the keys figure prominently, but the increase in the energy comes quickly, and ultimately, there’s never really a thematic slowdown at any point of this compelling record.

“Patrick,” the album’s fourth track, opens with meditative clean vocals and plucked guitar, and in some of these similarly styled moments, there’s somewhat of an earthy and folksy feeling in the music. Rather than an actual theatrical performance on a stage, Lorem Ipsum sound as though they have dramatized everyday moments of heartbreak and loss.

On Bandcamp, the group describes their latest effort as a concept record about “body failures,” and the lyrics (which are in French but available on Bandcamp for translation) reflect this idea as they tell stories of various physically threatening situations, from alcoholism to war. The group sound like they’re exploring a raw and rather ragged sense of desperation like that which may be found in a hospital waiting room or by a loved one’s bedside.

There’s an earnestness in the sound as these songs continually push forward, but fittingly, there’s no overarching sense of resolution. “Véro,” the album’s final track, swiftly alternates between faster and slower performances, creating feelings of tension. The often quick-moving music doesn’t feel particularly wistful or flippant — it feels poignantly stark and desperate. Fundamentally, bodily decay is inescapable, and on Vivre encore, Lorem Ipsum spotlight human reactions to this fact, providing a feeling of emotional depth for relentless grapplings with the void.

5/5 Stars

Listen to Vivre encore below! The album is available from UFV Records, Sleepy Dog Records, Seaside Suicide Records, VOTU, & HVIV.