Fil Rouge — which translates as “Red String” and is the latest album from the French post-hardcore group Another Five Minutes — pulsates with a thoroughly compelling sense of emotional unease.
Another Five Minutes don’t sound centrally focused on conclusive catharsis. Instead, they seemingly depict a journey through blustery emotion, with a focus on their music’s rather richly cultivated path rather than a particular endpoint.
Frequently, although the tones consistently feel like coarse post-hardcore à la La Dispute, the tempos waver to a point of allowing focus on the group’s contemplative melodies, and a shoegazey element in the sound also broadens the emotional impact, because there’s a real sense of fullness in the music. Meanwhile, the tempos intensify and soften along with the album’s journey of grappling with senses of tension and sorrow that mix together in a pained fog.
With their combination of a rather formidable post-hardcore force with strikingly emotive melodies, the group sounds like they’re exploring a place where inward tension builds into a seriously unsettling storm.
The force of the sound, while present, isn’t overpowering. Rather, Another Five Minutes seem to build their compelling songs around the central melodies, which frequently communicate a sense of sobering inward pain. As the music flows along, the songs seem to map a journey through a kind of subtly heartrending sadness. Much of the music feels rather richly expressive, with an organic-feeling palette of dynamics, from the pointedly faster performances on “Fading Away” and “The Ocean” to the subtly mathy vibes on “Don’t Follow Me” and “Perpetual Calendar” and the smooth alternations between meditation and mourning on “The Sistine Chapel.”
Each one of these stops along the album’s journey feels richly developed, from the swinging guitars and brisk drums of the more intense segments to the melodically expressed desperation of the slower moments, like on “The Sistine Chapel.”
The album largely moves rather smoothly along — although there’s unease, there’s not a lot of uncertainty or instability in the sound. Although this element doesn’t make the album feel somehow suddenly bright, there is a feeling of a kind of refreshing honesty. The earnest music, with its hoarse but somewhat softened tones, always seems to hinge on the melodies, and the songs end up feeling somewhat like the reflection from a mental mirror.
Listen to Fil Rouge below!