Divided We Fall is the 6th full release from French duo, Black Noodle Project, formed in 2001 as the brainchild of Jeremie Grima (keyboards, guitar, vocals) and Sebastien Bourdeix (guitars), and following on from 2013's Ghosts And Memories.
Ably supported by Mobo on bass and Tommy Rizzitelli's drums, this largely instrumental album, explores a post-rock, psychedelic soundscape, infused with melancholic meanderings and exuding a certain Gallic cool. According to the band, the music is an exploration of a divided mind, although the divisions are external as well as internal as the two lead musicians skilfully complement each other building cinematic emotionally charged structures in sound. There is intense lyricism in the playing, an even pace and tasteful avoidance of the overtly technical. The music takes centre stage over the musician and at its best universes can open up within a few bars. This is music to expand the mind and it is almost a shock when a human voice intrudes on the only two tracks which include vocals. Grima's vocals are pleasingly charming and provide a welcome relief from the emotional intensity of the instrumentals, although that is affecting in its own way.
It is very easy for The Black Noodle Project's offerings to get lost in the background, however. One track can segue seamlessly into another, and while this makes for a pleasing listening experience I find that one can easily listen to the whole album without really hearing anything or distinguishing one track from another. To pick up the cinematic theme, there are lots of terrific scenes and outstanding photography, but sometimes one is left wondering where the whole thing is going, or if it even went anywhere.
Having said which, I would strongly recommend this band to a wider audience, especially those who enjoy the slew of Pink Floyd influenced rock bands. I rarely, if ever, see them mentioned on Progressive rock forums, and that strikes me as something of an injustice. Divided We Fall is one album I have played repeatedly with enjoyment ever since I received it, and it and its creators should not, as the closing song has it, be one of the things Left Behind which just fade away.
**** Andrew Cottrell
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