REVIEW: Malakas – Flamme Flottante (2018)

Flame Flottante is the 2018 EP release by French instrumental duo Malakas. Based in Coulommiers, France, band members K.Yordanoff and M.Le Saux have created a charming work of Post-Exotica.

Opening track Fatigues sinks the listener into a melancholic sea. Somber surf guitar, awash in reverb and wobbling tremolo, plods along while lapping brushed drums smears across the song’s musical structure. A harpsichord-sounding keyword elicits the sensation of light beams through stained glass, breaking outwards in floral kaleidoscopic fragmentation.

Similarly, the titular second track Flamme Flottante (Floating Flame) drifts along in an eerie space-age fashion before breaking into a Bossa-Nova tinged and organ driven dash to the finish. There’s a quality reminiscent of 1970s Italian film composers Giuliano Sorgini and Armando Trovajoli that is prevalent at first. That is until the album’s break in to a more distinctly indie rock territory on its second half.

B-side tracks HOO HAA and the closing Palapappa exhibit a more energetic, somewhat silly and less despondent indie rock approach. On both HOO HAA and Palapappa, Malakas pits guitar and synth to battle it out over an occasionally Math Rock influenced Indie sound. Though still far from the ‘boss fight’ aggression of Nintendocore / Surf champs The Advantage, the final two songs on this four song EP work back into a more Rock oriented sound.

The Surf music genre is undoubtedly an influence on most artists exploring Post-Exotica themes, and it shows here. Surf has seemingly always had one foot in the cinematic and one foot in pure playfulness. I like that about Flamme Flottante. Even if the latter half doesn’t engage me in as intense of a way as the album’s more cinematic first half, that the album can balance these two at times contrasting depictions creates for a well-rounded EP.

Flamme Flottante is Post-Exotica bliss, exploring both the tropical sounds of the age of Hi-Fi’s past and more contemporary instrumental playfulness.

For fans of: The Advantage, Hospitality, Armando Trovajoli

Like Malakas? Give these a listen: Giuliano Sorgini, Why?, Battles

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