A.S.
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A.S.

Paris, Île-de-France, France | INDIE

Paris, Île-de-France, France | INDIE
Band Alternative Rock

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"A.S. Intimate Circles"

Si il y a bien un élément qui ne craint pas les murs pour sa progression, c’est bien le son. C’est aux antipodes que nous arrive Nick, chanteur et pianiste de A.S., arrivé à Paris pour apprendre la direction d’orchestre. Cet australien de culture classique, a plongé son imaginaire dans celui de la culture pop, au premier desquels Radiohead semble être une influence majeure. Du classique Nick a gardé les constructions complexes, les avancées lentes, l’installation d’un climat d’une histoire. De la pop il prendra l’électricité des guitares, le lyrisme quitte à se bruler les ailes sur un titre comme « Choose », il prendra surtout la fragilité à très vite installé, sous peine d’être trop dans le carré et l’insoluble dans l’émotion. On passera sur les légèretés prisent avec les vocalises (Other Days) pour considérer ce premier disque comme un effort trop long, aussi long qu’un voyage entre la France et L’Australie, mais un voyage qui a ses paliers réussis, se prenant parfois le mur du son. - Gérald de Oliveira, A Découvrir Absolument


"Un album à l'inspiration rare : Intimate Circles d'A.S."

Intimate Circles du groupe A.S. est un concept album. Il y a une une unité de sons, de ton et de couleurs. Si la musique avait une couleur, dans Intimate Circles ce serait le noir. Le noir de la nuit. La lune peut bien se dévoiler par instants d’entre les nuages, la nuit est bien là.

Le groupe lui-même est aussi un concept. Il est en fait le moyen d’expression de Nick McRoberts, qui signe paroles, musique, arrangements, tient les parties de piano et chante. Sa voix est grave et claire et son physique évoque immanquablement les Hauts Plateaux écossais.

???????????????L’album est dense, les trois musiciens sont en parfaite symbiose, les instruments sont étroitement mixés. Les guitares et la basse de Idriss et les drums de Karim ne se permettent aucune envolée. Même les contre-chants, choeurs et deuxièmes voix sont savamment dosés.

Si certains titres ont une structure plus pop, avec ce que le terme peut comporter de facilité d’écoute dans les intros ou le tempo, l album est néanmoins extrêmement cérébral : les mélodies sont savantes et les thèmes ne sont pas légers. Nick nous parle de la jeunesse qui s’envole, de choix, du peut-être, de murmure, du train qui glisse dans la nuit, du monde du silence et aussi d’exil. Les textes, sans être hermétiques, contiennent une poésie propre, servie par des phrases mélodiques qui ne sombrent jamais dans la facilité. Tous renvoient à ces cercles intimes, que l on trace sur le sol pour fixer tout ce qui, en nous, est mis en danger.

Bref vous l aurez compris, cet album est de très grande qualité et on y plonge avec délice comme lorsqu’on relit, au hasard, des pages des Chants de Maldoror.
Nick, Karim et Idriss nous délivrent, avec All Hands, Youth, Nignt Train, Maybe, Exile entre autres un très beau « Debut » album intemporel à écouter et réécouter encore.

Christian DAVID - Christian David, Easyzic.net


"A.S. Exile CD Review"

A.S. Exile CD Review

Posted by James McQuiston on February 11th, 2013

Do what you want is the introductory track to Exile, and it builds off the work of Queensryche and The Scorpion. There is an eye to current music, with the vocals achieving Maroon 5 levels of allure. A.S. provides listeners with a track that will immediately draw them in; the eponymous track follows and spins the act into a new romantic (Psychedelic Furs, The Smiths) meets emotive rock (Fuel, Soundgarden) groove. Do what you want and builds a considerable amount of momentum. All elements of the band, be they the drums, guitars, or vocals, unite to create something greater than its constituent elements.

Time and Fast keep the pace high as the band settles into the Probable Cause, which has a darker and more brooding feel than the average track on Exile. It is this orchestral-heavy arrangement that resonates loudly throughout the rest of the album. Probable Cause is an effort that could easily be on rock and pop rotation given. Why The Hell Not? Is the penultimate track on Exile, representing another bold shift in A.S.’s style. While there is cohesion to each track on this album, I feel that listeners will continually be surprised at what is next.

Exile ends with an acoustic version of Reasonable Doubts. A.S. is talented enough to provide their fans with two versions that are distinct enough to be considered two different tracks. The nuance of the instrumental arrangements really shines through when listeners put on the acoustic version, while the electric version provides ample polish. Exile is one of the best albums that we have reviewed so far in 2013; here’s to hoping that A.S. rides a wave of success with this release.

Top Tracks: Do what you want, Reasonable Doubts (acoustic)

Rating: 8.9/10 - James McQuiston, NeuFutur Magazine


"Go all in for 'Exile'"

As The Band draws obvious comparisons to Radiohead and Coldplay, but from track one, A.S. makes its case.


By Melissa Kucirek

on Feb 3, 2013

For the last decade or so, every time a piano, swooping guitar riffs and a modern rock outfit rock are mentioned, the instant comparison is Coldplay. Rightfully so, it seems, that the ecclentic duo, As The Band (A.S.) draws strong correlations and dramatic vocals in the stirring Exile. This mesmerizing package unfolds like a diary, leaving the listener emotionally changed.

In the opener, "Do What You Want," the mood is dark. It is melancholy, but not Depeche Mode or early The Cure doom and gloom. It is dark as in Danny Elfman and aristocratic like the theme song from Downton Abbey (probably not, but like most people this writer/listener is currently obsessed with this show and it is obviously seeping itself into this story. Just go with it. Don't fight it). The vocals reach a high falsetto at perfect moments much like Radiohead and Silverchair (Ana's Song).

Soul Invasion

What is most amazing is the instant feeling that this band is worldly; their viewpoint is not American. They have this aura and bountiful music bed that thrusts years of classical influence onto a soundscape.

In the title track, this very complex layer of music invades the listener. The percussion sounds a bit fabricated, but the vocals are mesmerizing. The orchestration is very modern and at times feels so intuned, so a part of the listener, it is as if one is levitating to the airy force. "Exile" is amazing.

"Time" invades the soul. The piano keys bleed with this sharp arrangement, meshed against baritone vocals and percussion that crushes at the ears just like the waves crash against the beach rocks, interrupting a conversation.

At this point, this writer/listener felt euphoric and drained at the same time. It is not to say that these songs put one in a bad place emotionally, they just seem to take hold of a more somber part of one's state. In "Fast", "Probable Cause" and "Invisible Kiss," A.S. captures the listener's attention with a vast wall of sound.

"Pleasure and Pain" evokes a dark beauty. The delay in vocals between stanzas is shocking, yet understandable. The vocals seem to sweep lazily alongside, only to burst out like a wound. "Fall In" (a song just under six minutes) has this endearing acoustic guitar intro. The guitar strings seem to wrap themselves around the subtle orchestration. In true form, A.S. changes the tempo of the song and burts into moving chorus.

"Why the Hell Not?" and "Reasonable Doubts" (acoustic) conclude the CD in familiar territory and take the listener into a reflective state-of-mind. Wow.

Don't Resist

Overall, Exile garners an A+ review. This one really took an emotional toll on this writer/listener. It is a challenge to listen to each track - the first instinct is to resist the daunting orchestrations and morose moods. Fear not, this journey is worth taking. Fans of Coldplay, Radiohead, Snow Patrol, Echo and the Bunnymen and Vega will see the connection and like what they hear.

Copyright Melissa Kucirek - Melissa Kucirek, Suite101


Discography

Singles EP (2008)
Intimate Circles (2009)
Exile (2012)

Photos

Bio

A.S.’s second album, Exile, will be released by Inedible Records on March 1st 2013. The album was recorded over four months starting in summer 2011 at RedBox Studios in Paris, and mixed by multi-grammy award winning Darrell Thorp at Studio 101 in Los Angeles. The album is a fitting sequel to Intimate Circles, the band's first opus, but with stronger rhythms and darker, more melancholy texts, as well as greater daring and originality in the complex, eclectic arrangements.

Formed in 2008, the Paris based duo consists of vocalist Nick McRoberts (voice, piano) and Idriss Halfaoui (guitars). For Exile they are joined by Raphaël Mercier (drums) of Mass Hysteria and the haunting vocals of Juwenn of Relay (additional vocals on Exile).

Intimate Circles (2009 - Inedible Records) marked their studio debut and included sombre and complex titles such as "Maybe", "Other Days" and "Intimate Circles" as well as the anthemic "Youth". Intimate Circles was praised as "without a doubt the debut album that many groups would have liked to record" (Zicazic) and "...while Radiohead meditate and Coldplay rewrite their testament, A.S. moves beyond. They transcend genres, reconcile them..." (Raje Magazine)
Since 2008, A.S. have toured extensively in France and the UK and will be undetaking showcase dates in Australia and the UK to coincide with the launch of Exile at the end of the year.

The album artwork for Exile was born of the collaboration with French photographer P. Gaston and was shot entirely on location in West Scotland. The album was mastered at legendary Metropolis Studios in London by John Davis (U2, Snow Patrol, Velvet Underground).