“I’m a lover not a fighter.”
Far from playing tough, ROCKY have named their first album “Soft Machines”: like one of the nine numbers on the LP. Love’s very giddiness is sung in English, or in the Togolese language of the Mina people, by Inès Kikou, their singer; on open-skied dancefloor beats or atmospheres favourable to share a cocktail. All elaborated by multi-instrumentalists Laurent Paingault, Tom Devos and Olivier Bruggeman.
Laurent and Tom met in the North of France in the late ‘90s. Later joined in Lille by Olivier, they produce a pop-rock sound but the urge of dance music and clubs will later become too compelling. Madchester beats, early ‘80s New York sound and Chicago original house music will feed the Bizarre Love Triangle, revered, but voiceless. Here comes Inès –raised in the Paris suburbs and by RnB and most contemporary rap– in ROCKY’s ring; in 2010 through a friend and towards a new path.
A war machine on stage since their outset in 2011, ROCKY’s first concert is on The Shoes’ bill. A decisive encounter with the duo from Reims who will remix their planetary hit “Time To Dance”. ROCKY won’t rest on their touring-tested repertoire –a unique equivalent of New York’s LCD Soundsystem or Britain’s Hot Chip– or drop their guard in the studio.
Their maiden EP infused in electronic pop and engineered by Guillaume Brière –The Shoes’ half– and mixed by Stéphane Briat (Air, Sébastien Tellier, Phoenix, etc.) birthed in 2013 with a great radio welcoming, from Radio Nova to France Inter, and was supported by a year of touring.
But ROCKY is then still sparring onto the next big fight: their first album.
The brand new songs are elaborated in ROCKY’s Lille home studio throughout the year 2015 then in the ICP studios in Brussels. The tracks are then reviewed and updated under the auspices of loyal brother Guillaume Brière in his own Reims studio. Éric Broucek then mixes as he’s done for Hercules & Love Affair, !!! and LCD Soundsystem except for the track “I Hate You” and “Two Drops” achieved by Julien Delfaud (Super Discount, Gaëtan Roussel, Woodkid).
The Spring of 2016 sees the release of ”Apologize”, first track off the album, electronically misleading since the eight other numbers are shaped with real guitars and drums and is vibrantly pop. The majestic ”Big South/Brandy and Monaco” sequence rings on majestic beats and a saxophone surprise to be transcended by Inès’ voice. A figurehead call to toss audience and incite a big chill.
”Band Against The Wall” then iconically re-appears –re-recorded from the 2013 EP– for us to enjoy and measure the path taken by the group so far. Amongst all the tracks to be explored on the album, “Love Is A Soft Machine” is a solar stop on which Inès’ voice embraces the catchiness of a baggy, New Order-like bassline. This number und oubtedly is a contemporary disco-pop jewel. ROCKY slams the last hit with “This Love”, a kin to Caribou’s “Our Love” and an heir to Inner City Life’s ”Big Fun”, Kevin Saunderson’s house hit, pioneer of Detroit’s original techno.
ROCKY does away with labels, ungraspable and uncompromisingly pop, efficient and electronic without being systematic. Dedicated heart and soul to music and heart-pumping when they feel like it.
No other French group sounds like ROCKY, as ROCKY won’t sound like any other group.
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