Ebbing and flowing, brightening and gently fading, the newest release from atmosphere-masters Alcest is the perfect album to accompany a long evening drive into the sunset. Les chants de l’aurore is nothing short of inspirational and uplifting. Leaning hard into the hallmarks of shoe-gaze, reverberating, layered guitar underscored by a deep and melodic base create a depth of sound that perfectly accompanies the dreamy aesthetic of Les chants de l’aurore.

“Komorebi” and “L’Envol” kick off the album with a sweet brilliance and ethereal dignity. The songs are undeniably positive and reach for the gut like a free-fall from the clouds. Soaring, sweeping vocals sends the feeling of flying straight to the chest. “Flamme Jumelle” evokes this sense as well, utilizing repetitiveness as a tool that tugs at your feelings and begs you to stay inside the intensity of the track.  

“Améthyste” breaks the Cloudkicker-esqueness of the first two tracks, bringing a sense of longing a darker feel to the record. Glazed with screams and black metal riffs, the song is a stand-out among the tracks with an ending that kicks your ass with Alcest bringing all of themselves to the table. “L’Enfant da la Lune” rides out the same wave of earnestness, bringing back the kiss of black metal drums and guitar to create a palpable energy. Paired with harmonized, clean “ahhs”, the song plays with swells of emotion and pared back introspective instrumentation. With another passionate ending, Alcest is really looking to zip you open and pour themselves right into your soul.

Alcest is known for making the ugly pretty and Les chants de l’aurore is no exception. In fact, with Les chants de l’aurore they are perhaps leaning into this idea more than ever. The album is an easy, beautiful listen. As the sun sets and darkness begins to envelop the horizon, the song “L’Adieu” readies you for the graceful transition from the energy of the day into the coolness of an evening. A soft and meaningful track, Alcest perfectly translates the end of a day into the end of an album. I’d almost call this album conceptual, taking you on that “end of the movie” credits feeling, as if a story has been told and Les chants de l’aurore is the conclusion, the resolution, or the moral to be taken away.

Les chants de l’aurore is a triumph and Alcest has continued to set the bar for themselves high. The band, all two of them, have a knack for creating music that is hard to ignore, pulling you in deeper and deeper as the album goes on. Les chants de l’aurore is a pure, unbridled expression of the soul and is unapologetic about wringing out your heart at just the right moments. Another win for Alcest, Les chants de l’aurore might be on the best album of the year lists for 2024.

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