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Shelter (digisleeve)

9 customer reviews

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Audio CD, January 21, 2014
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Editorial Reviews

'Shelter' is the fourth album by contemporary shoegazers Alcest, the destination of a long creative musical journey into vast new territories. More than ever, the French outfit embraces the dreamy guitar textures of shoegaze and blends it with the sweetness of British band Cocteau Twins - dream pop pioneers of the mid to late 80's era, epic, soundtrack-like melodies and progressive song structures. The album, which also features a guest appearance from Slowdive's Neil Halstead, was recorded at Sundlaugin Studio, Iceland, with Sigur Rós producer Birgir Jón Birgisson who masterfully gave 'Shelter' its light and ethereal sound.

1. Wings
2. Opale
3. La Nuit Marche Avec Moi
4. Voix Sereines
5. L'Eveil Des Muses
6. Shelter
7. Away
8. Délivrance

Product Details

  • Audio CD (January 21, 2014)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Prophecy Productions
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #93,336 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By J. Hubner on January 21, 2014
Format: Audio CD
Alcest is a french Shoegaze band. Well, that's what they want you to believe. Who's "they"? Lazy writers, basically. I actually disagree with this statement. Sure, they've been a big influence on Deafheaven. Sunbather was a beautiful mix of jagged black metal and dreamy shoegaze soundscapes, but that doesn't mean Alcest are a shoegaze band. One listen to their newest album Shelter and it's clear that Alcest mastermind Neige is doing something far more grand than anything those mopey shoegaze folks ever did.

Listening to "Opale", the second song on the excellent Shelter, you get that big, swelling feeling in the chest. Triumphant, grand, emotional, and overall uplifting. This is the kind of song Chris Martin would love to open an album with; or maybe something to play during Olympic spots on NBC. Either way, it's a beautiful track that may be dipping its toes in those shoegaze waters, but is firmly planted in lighter, happier terrain. Alcest is more Sigur Ros than My Bloody Valentine. "La nuit marche avec moi" gets a bit darker. The song has a post-rock sound to it, reminiscent of Mogwai in atmospheric mode. "Voix Sereines" is a slow burner, with the kind of chord changes and sweeping, engulfing reverb Explosions in the Sky use to swallow you whole. The guitars are light and dreamy, while the drums are subtle yet carry you along. This song does evoke a bit of the shoegaze/dream pop feel, albeit more along the lines of Whirr, especially around the four minute mark when the guitars explode into a wall of buzzing fuzz. Epic. And title track "Shelter" brings to mind The Jesus and Mary Chain in full-on pop mode. This track sounds like what would've transpired had the Reid brothers recorded A Rush of Blood to the Head instead of those Coldplays.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Scott Hedegard on February 17, 2014
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Alcest were not a band on my radar, nor was I familiar with "shoegaze" music, or so I thought. However, metal magazines and some web sites were reviewing "Shelter" almost slavishly, and all were impressed, so I knew I was on to something and listened a bit on youtube to one of their songs, and was shortly back to ordering this CD.
"Shoegaze" is yet another silly title for albums of introspection, thus forming another needless category for a band to be lumped into. When I first played "Shelter", the first comparisons that entered my mind were some of the eighties bands that were influenced by REM, and even some Wire's mid-'80's pop-post punk work, mainly "Red Barked Tree". Of course, many reviewers out there weren't around back then and think shoegaze is something new. No, it's the offspring of post-punk and new wave, and in the case of Alcest, on their early stuff, metal, black in particular.
What has thrown a wrench in the metal machinery this time is Alcest's decision to abandon all metal pretenses, opting instead for a layered approach with soaring melodies and Niege's clean vocals, all in French with one track in English. It doesn't matter however, what the language in their case is, because the vocal melodies are soothing, hypnotic and beautiful. We get the gentle delivery of French, one of the world's most melodious languages. One can imagine his or her own lyrical story to fill in the gaps concerning love, concern and other emotional issues to put in the music. Niege's voice is truly an inseparable part of the entire package.
He has said he doubts he'll ever revert back to the black metal of earlier works, and judging from this album, there really is no need to. "Shelter" hopefully will pave the way for other heavy bands to stretch their creative wings, as well. Turn it on, put the lights down very low, and allow it to caress you like the sunshine on the cover.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Ling Xuan on January 28, 2014
Format: Audio CD
Ever since getting introduced to the music of Alcest via their 2007’s debut album “Souvenirs D’un Autre Monde”, I have been an avid follower of Frenchman Neige’s fantastic brand of heavily shoegaze-stylised metal. When I knew of his 2014’s release of “Shelter”, needless to say, I was overjoyed for another dosage of Alcest after his last 2012 studio effort of “Les Voyages De L’Âme”.

“Shelter” opened with the lightly ephemeral prelude “Wings” which seamlessly transited to the jubilant “Opale” with the uplifting riff that spaced itself throughout the song, interlaced with the signature Alcest-esque delicate clean singing from Neige. The tone for the album has been swiftly set for an 8 tracks worth of an opus and the listener quickly placed in a calm sanctuary of aural bliss that is about to follow. Surely enough, the next song “La Nuit Marche Avec Moi” continued the momentum that “Opale” kickstarted. The rough English translation of “La Nuit Marche Avec Moi” means “The Night Walk With Me” which proved to be apt as I personally felt the strange calmness that the darkened streets of the night provide; a new sort of contented quietude that accompanied the qualities of the night.

After that night stroll, we are then treated to “Voix Sereine” which translated roughly to “Calm Voice”, I can’t help but notice the striking resemblance to some of the ballads from Icelandic post-rock group Sigur Rós. Speaking of Sigur Rós, it will be interesting to note that the connection did not end at the sound similarities as Alcest employed the help of Sigur Rós regular Birgir Jón Birgisson for the album’s mixing and production.
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