Meta Gruau
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Meta Gruau

Montréal, Quebec, Canada | SELF

Montréal, Quebec, Canada | SELF
Band Alternative Punk


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Freak Festivals #3: Montreal Eclectic Groove/Francofolies"

Excerpt from the article:

"The pick of day two are keyboard/guitar/drum trio Meta Gruau, who conjure up visions of a heavy metal Stereolab" - Mojo

"Meta Gruau's "Tendre et mauve" Album Review, Launch @ l'esco, This Friday"

High-energy synthesized pop sludge rock is in vogue. Montréal's Meta Gruau makes a worthy addition to this highly particular local scene with their first full-length album "Tendre et mauve". While the three-artist band has been performing since c. 2006 and has previously released EPs, their LP launch this Friday at L'Escogriffe (4467 St. Denis, corner Mont-Royal) is a must-stop for the uninitiated.

Taking a page from the late 70s/early 80s punk synth pop band, Devo, the Montréal music scene has been very kind to bands like Duchess Says, We Are Wolves, Pedo Pedro, ManyMental Mistakes (more shoe-gaze, I admit), Lesbo Vrouven and, of course, Meta Gruau. While the very discordant nature of the style means mainstream breakthrough is rare to impossible, these bands have attracted a loyal following due to the strikingly pulsating live acts they conjure up from percussion and distorted keyboard.

"Tendre et mauve" features 12 tracks, most of which rely on a heavy bass beat, coupled with synth pop riffs and vocals that are eerily distorted to give Gruau their unique sound. Opening track "Banana" ramps it up with some of those signature tones that repeat in subsequent tracks: this includes digitized melodies with hints of French baroque, though heavily saturated with today's electronic sounds. Tracks like "Corvette" and "Nenu-phare" rely on the continual moan, drone and mumble of the electronic and muffled lyrics - which is all fine and dandy, considering both tracks consist of two lines repeated. The inability to decipher the lyrics only comes as a detriment in "Ma job" which, after reading the CD booklet, I discovered had some humourous lines about spending hours on the toilet when unemployed.

Band members Julien Bakvis (drums and vocals), Melissa Di Menna (keyboards, vocals) and Julien Michalak (guitar, synth, vocals) drummed up some support from the local music pool. Both Philippe Clément of Duchess Says and Thomas Augustin of Malajube helped collaborate to bring together this album. In a way, "Tendre et mauve" is a stepping stone between these two collaborators. The mainstream success of Malajube may allow some extra attention to be paid to the like-sounding (more palpatably mainstream) Meta Gruau tracks such as "Tibia sauvignon". In turn, this helps habituate listeners to the "synth sludge" sound, more heavily employed by Duchess Says. Not to reduce Meta Gruau to meer stepping stone: they are themselves more than capable of captivating the most avid fan of the sound.

Another introductory track for beginners may be "Racine plastique" which debuts a heavy repetitive bass beat similar to what is often (always?) employed by The White Stripes.

Lastly, there are the album oddities: "Intermezzo" is a palate cleanser - a short track dropping in after five high energy tracks. It also hearkens back to the roots of Meta Gruau, which was more about computerized compositions at its inception. This one sounds like it was ripped straight from some lost area of an 8-bit Final Fantasy video game. There is then "Tendre et mauve", taking a page from the electro-synth compositions of Walter/Wendy Carlos (namely "The Funeral of Queen Mary" featured in Kubrick's A Clockwork Orange). Images of the Alex's droogs flittered through my head when hearing this one. Yarbles.

The summary of this twelve-track listening experience is one that shows accomplished synth experimentation with sludge rock affinities. The mix is somewhat jarring, from loud distorted vocals on one track to baroque-esque synth instrumentals on the next. While the latter certainly speak to the band being both tender and mallow ("tendre et mauve"), they are obviously anything but: and I think I prefer them as the inverse.

The kind of music Meta Gruau plays is best experienced live, so catching a live performance is a good start. To those who have yet to experience any of the above-mentioned bands (pre-review) or Gruau themselves, I highly recommend you take advantage of their album launch at l'esco on Friday as a fine introduction. To 'synth sludge' veterans: you hardly need convincing. The show starts at 9pm Friday April 23rd, $5 at the door, with copies of their nicely designed CD available for purchase. You should also pay a visit to their Myspace or Facebook pages. - Midnight Poutine

"Meta Gruau Tendre et mauve (CD review)"

Meta Gruau
Tendre et mauve (independent)
“Post-rock electro sludge” is this local trio’s summation of their catchy melodies, rubbery bounce, rock heaviosity and nauseous drone, propelled by quaking guitars, sci-fi keys, nasal commandments, manic shrieks and whip-crack percussion. In short, Meta Gruau’s debut LP (feat. guest appearances by members of Malajube and Duchess Says) keeps you on your toes, whether you’re dancing or running for cover. 7.5/10 Trial Track: “Corvette” (Lorraine Carpenter) Album launch at l’Escogriffe, Fri., April 23, 9 p.m. - Montreal Mirror

"Sludge puppy - Montreal’s Meta Gruau like it messy"

Sludge puppy
Montreal’s Meta Gruau like it messy


“The term I like is like ‘synth sludge,’” says Julien Bakvis, singer and drummer for Meta Gruau. In practice, the band’s punk muscle and electronic edge grapple together and grip audiences from the get-go, but when it comes to theory, Bakvis prefers a little mystery.

“The goal of this band is just to have fun playing. With Melissa [Di Menna] playing keyboards and Julien [Michalak] on guitar and synth, and me playing my drums, it always ends up sounding like Meta Gruau, whatever we do.”

Launched in 2006 as a side project to his other band, Jacquemort (currently “on ice”), Meta Gruau was just Bakvis and his computer until he was asked to play a show. After deciding against a one-man karaoke set-up, he recruited Di Menna and Michalak (the latter a Jacquemort bandmate), and the first gig went so well that they decided to stay together.

“They transformed my compositions,” says Bakvis. “Melissa has a very catchy electropop style in her keyboard playing and Julien is more noisy with his synth plugged into his guitar—he’s kind of an equipment freak.”

For a band of artists as well as musicians, and ones enamoured with punk rock to boot, making their own recordings, sleeves and posters is par for the course. But getting signed to a label of any kind isn’t a priority at this stage, so they’re getting the word out by releasing a single on their own.

“The goal of playing music is, you want people to know about you and to come see your show,” says Bakvis. “But this way, it’s still a dream come true for all the DIY people.”

Meta Gruau has built up a small fanbase after playing a series of sweaty sets last year, but a show that’s good for the audience isn’t necessarily good for the band.

“For us, a good show, something bad has to happen,” says Bakvis. “We need to get electrocuted or a piece of equipment needs to break. Maybe the worst was when my drums broke and Julien broke his guitar. We’re trying to be more careful about trashing the equipment. It’s kind of expensive.”

With Pédo Pedro et ses enfants at l’Escogriffe
tonight, Thursday, Aug. 7, 9:30 p.m.
- Montreal Mirror

"song of the day: meta gruau – tendre et mauve – nenu-phare"

montreal has quite the electro rock scene and these guys are on the bill. these three released their debut album a short while ago and it’s definitely a nod to 80's synth punk rock with all the nuisances of their indisputable french flare. in short, they kick a lot of ass and this is as hip as it gets. i can’t understand a word he’s saying, but ask me if i care. this track is loud and begging you to put on your red coned hats a la devo and practice your robotic dance moves. - HumFink

"NEW MUSIC: Meta Gruau"

Montréal continues to surprise with the alarming amount of goods flying under the radar… this time around in the form of Meta Gruau

A fuzzed out Devo comes to mind… Meta Gruau delivers some substantial sludge rock that you know is going to slay live.

Check it on their Myspace - What I Heard Today


Tendre et Mauve (12 tracks) Independant, 2010
Tibia Sauvignon (3 tracks) Independant, 2008
Crabsalad EP (6 tracks) independant. 2006



Meta Gruau began in 2006, when drummer/singer Julien Bakvis (ex-Jacquemort), Melissa Di Menna on keyboards, and Julien Michalak (also ex-Jacquemort) on guitar, took to the stage to deliver their strange yet catchy “post-punk-electro-sludge”
songs for the first time. The trio launched in 2008 a three-track single called “Tibia Sauvignon”, focusing afterwards on the recording of their recently released album "Tendre et Mauve". The band also became very active as a live act, playing regularly in small and medium venues in Montreal and around the province. Meta Gruau played festivals such as Pop Montreal, Coup de coeur francophone, and MEG, and as a result received praise not only from francophone and anglophone media in Quebec, but also from European media (“Mojo” and “Les Inrocks”), which led them to be invited to play the Nuits Sonores festival in Lyon, France, with Duchess Says and We Are Wolves in May 2010.