25th November 2022

Christopher Nosnibor

If you’re after something subtle, melodic, and imbued with rich emotional depth, stop here. Because with song titles like ‘Aborted Eggs Benedict’, ‘Hymen Drizzled Hotcakes’, Rancid Risotto’, and ‘Fetal Fajitas’ the food-themed debut album from this ‘tech/brutal death’ act from Ohio is none of these things.

They’re keen to stress that while not entirely bereft of humour, they’re by no means a parody or novelty act, pointing out that the album ‘serves enough morbid and bizarre courses to fulfill the craving for extreme and wild. On top of that, the Northwestern Ohio group is serious about their music and does not deem their band as a fun or side project. To make their live shows more vivid, A La Carte members perform with the same characters displayed thematically and dress in maître d’ outfits’. Not that the lineup of Chef Cuck, Chef Highman, and The Maitre d’ remotely hints at anything even vaguely comedic.

The tile track, which lifts the lid on this crazy concoction of an album, is a whirl of psychedelic and theatrical flamenco-flavoured strangeness, before the heaving and churning begins with the sample-soaked intro to the technical thrash of ‘Aborted Eggs Benedict’, thrashing its way hard into a frenzy of guttural vocals and squealy notes emerging from the gnarly grind like flames spurting from a molten volcano. The lyrics are indecipherable, but thankfully, they’ve shared them, so it’s possible to grunt along with corking couplets like ‘When Boiling The Fetus Adjust The Oven Rack / With out Consent I Poach Your Tusks From A Elephant Add A Dash Of Vinegar Hatch A Meal So Sinister / Lower Fetus Boiling Immolate Carefully So It Dosent Seperate Make Sure You Only Cook A Little Skin Is Tough Gooey In The Middle / Breakfast Is Served All Atop A Carved Out Toasted Flaky Womans English Muffin’.

If only the instructions were so clear and straightforward for the majority of recipes I find online! And not that any of this translates in the listening, where the vocals mostly sound like phlegm-thick garglings of ‘Gurrrhgggghhhhh!’.

It would be ridiculous to criticise Soup Dejour for being puerile, and while it is largely cliché, it also shows some real creative flair. Not because it’s bombastic or theatrical, but because of how it pulls in a range or elements and presents some quite distinctive bass runs that aren’t genre-typical.

The twiddly guitar does get a bit much, and the crisp production only highlights the dominance of the fretwanking, and at times it works, and at others, it just feels excessive – and it’s by n o means the kind of excess that points towards the palace of wisdom, and, to turn to Blake’s proverb, ‘you never know what is enough until you know what is more than enough’.

Listening to Soup Dejour, I believe I may have made that vital discovery. That is, it’s solid and consistent as an album, the musicianship is absolutely faultless, but small servings are recommended.

AA

Cover Art_A La Carte_Soup Dejour

A La Carte_ band photo

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