Hardly two years after the release of their debut LP « Off with your heads ! » and more than fifty gigs in France which enabled them to polish their style in front of their audience, the mighty Cornflakes Heroes are back with a brand-new album: “Dear Mr Painkillers”. On the one hand, a logical sequel to “Off with your heads!” and the promise of new fertile directions, this second effort annihilates any preconceived ideas about indie rock made in France, as well as the fear of the blank page that is often linked to the dangerous second album.
The listener is here presented with the edgy US rock only them can ever produce (the fast pace and dissonant chords of “Sex on Channel #4” set the record straight once and for all), the vast landscapes of a dreamy and authentic Midwest (the sweet lead guitar on “Waiting for you”, the deep bass on “Is Mother right?”) and also more lighthearted, or even pastoral moments (the voluntarily lazy “Shabu Shabu”). However the real surprises will come from the powerful instant indie hymns (the groovy “Bloody Valentine”) or the new sounds distilled with either precious or crazy arrangements; the ukulele and Beach Boys meet Arcade Fire backing vocals of “Baby Honey”; the playful Moog, mad trumpet and “Wowee-Zowee”- style overdrive in the infectious “Let me be your Tamagotchi”; the dark and brooding atmosphere and martial rhythms of “Pow!” and “Dig a Hole”, which will call to mind “Myra Lee”-era Cat Power; or the interwoven masculine / feminine vocals and sumptuous strings of “Trigger Dear”.
Sometimes all these facets come together in a sophisticated ballet that lays down the law with an undeniable melodic savoir-faire (the surprising “Rotten Throat / Sweating Pores” and the scenic railway aesthetics of “Good Morning Naked City” whose uplifting qualities and moody trumpet will make you want to be teleported at the wheel of a sparkling Cadillac on the road to sprawling NYC back in 1981, after having got rid of your own parents that is).
We attend in awe at this display of well-crafted songs, between disarticulated punk euphoria and dusty art-blues , through nearly joyful respite. The production duties were this time given to B.Lemoine at Minipop Studio in Paris, who succeeded in giving the band a round but edgy overall sound that perfectly suits their bittersweet endeavours, with meaningful lyrics that evoke darker themes than we would usually expect from the quartet, when the tunes are immediately identifiable.
The Cornflakes Heroes deliver the goods on this second LP that will rock your ass big time, no doubt about it.