It feels as if Papier Tigre need some sort of introductory paragraph all to themselves being A) a French band and B) a GREAT French band. Sounding like some happy collaboration between post-hardcore New Yorkers, Rival Schools and the growl of Welsh alt-rockers, Mclusky, Papier Tigre are certainly not what their quirky, almost Twee, name might suggest. In fact, they are loaded with dynamics and innovative time signatures, not to mention a hefty percussion section. To wit in game form: the Paper certainly has the rock wrapped up.
Self-confessed Fugazi and Q and not U fans, Papier Tigre display an unorthodox approach to a lot of things much like their heroes: with no bass player [both guitarists using an impressive selection of effects and sounds to create a huge sub octave out of nowhere], their unusual song formats and their inventive approach to the art of live performance. Stationed in a linear form across the stage here tonight at Fleche d'Or, drummer Pierre Parois of the group is a tour de force of poly-rhythmic complexity and power and Eric Pasquereau's snaps and cries out over the beats in twisted rhythms. Yet it is the bewildering and bearded lead guitarist Arthur de la Grandiere who is arguably the most dazzling component of this trio. Dabbling between an onslaught of Sabbath style riffs to delicate prog rock intricacies, he is caught hammering harmonics one minute only to then pick up a drum stick in order to beat an extra snare drum the next. He even grapples with a maraca to double up on percussion at one point and one can't help but wonder how many band members one man can represent?
With a will-they-won't-they reunion for Rival Schools looming, fans of the post-hardcore group would do well to cease checking up daily on the bands myspace page for news of their forthcoming record and instead head over the Atlantic Ocean to Nantes, France. Papier Tigre's name may suggest that they are harmless but, in fact, they are a threat to bands everywhere with killer riffs, relentless touring and a winning hand; the one holding the maraca, that is.
No, Male Bonding don't offer banterous quips or 'a new sound' but the one they've brought back from the shoe-gazing and dirty days of the 90s has been sorely missed. This band are a refreshing change from NME tartlets and asymmetric haircuts, knocking out a fresh rock energy which they do shockingly well and with a nonchalance that is both admirable and drenched in punk [or should that be teen] spirit.
As line-ups go, these two groups of males bond very well here in the city of light, ce soir.