HURLENOIR is a French band that has flown beneath many radars since it first started in 2019. As much as a musician as a painter, HURLENOIR is an artist who exploits dark themes to challenge and engage in reflection on the often rugged course of life.

With “Achromaria,” the band’s last EP, it shares the sound of deep longing in more ways than one. It’s evident that the music and lyrics are a clear exhibition of that, as it captures the unrest inherent in the post-punk movement, but there still lies a more profound sense of duality.

A lot is going on in “Achromaria,” from shoegaze to darkwave and goth elements. However gorgeous the bones of the songs around, they still contain a great deal of melancholy. Overall, the EP consists of powerful, dramatic, and poetic story songs from the dark underbelly of France.

From the moment HURLENOIR glides gently into the perfumed garden, which is ‘Maria,’ the opening song of the EP, you know that you are in for a treat. The band wastes almost no time delving into a dark yet atmospheric song that begins acoustic and soon builds into an epic track. ‘Maria’ is such a strong opener that makes you consider if there’s a danger that what follows could be a letdown. Yet, HURLENOIR doesn’t let the side down.

‘La Sagesse me guette’ is a beautiful, infectious post-punk track that sucks you in like a swam, with unexpected metallic drums, melodic guitar, and goth vocals. But ‘Fait Dix verres’ is majestic. Introducing Alcest-like shoegaze elements and Carline Rochat’s delicate vocals, the third track is an aching blackgaze track with spacey effects that deliver a precise and irresistible balance of transcendent and chaotic atmospheres. Soon after, the cosmic magic continues with ‘Nebula,’ a short track that seems to come from the bright and dark components of the EP, complementing each other to yield a greater state of mind.

The next song, ‘1993,’ follows a similar suit, opening with towering riffs and drum patterns that build a jumping point for vocals. The EP comes to a close with ‘Monarque,’ an exploration of sonic poetry in duet with Carline Rochat, filled with screamings and longing vibes so deep it hurts. Undoubtedly, HURLENOIR saved the best for last. It may take some time to peel all of the layers and influences on “Achromaria,” but once you do, you will find it to be superbly meaningful and self-assured.

Clocking in at only 18 minutes with six tracks, the EP is made for getting lost in the music. I’d say ‘Monarque’ comes too soon until you realize how much you have experienced beforehand. HURLENOIR guides the music with undeniable passion, always serving an immersive mood. The EP will prove much more palatable for post-punkers while maintaining cross-pollination with shoegaze and alternative rock. As a result, “Achromaria” is a short yet memorable record.

You can order “Achromaria” here.

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Still can't tell exactly my origins because of my suspiciously ‘Chinese eyes’.