“Halfway between the dying ghost of Shoegazing and the sticky residue of a Glasgow Saturday Night Fever, five-piece french band Mannequins lay their cards on the table : it’s poppy, it’s noisy, and it’s all you need to know. So clap along if you want to, but stay in time mate.”
They’re right. First listen to French band Mannequins and I’m transported back to the 1980s and 1990s when guitars were heavy and hair was high. This isn’t at all a bad thing.
Lead track “Yeasterday” has a striking video with the singer singing the lines in a nearly motionless manner – if it weren’t for the fact his eyes flicker and his lips snarl the words we may well believe he is actually a mannequin. This continues until the end when for some reason he’s knocked flying by a man who walks in and slaps his face. “Yeasterday” is gritty and punchily executed, and definitely a track I could see lending itself to a bit of pogoing (do people pogo in clubs anymore?).
Yeasterday is followed by “Hang Up Calls” – a slightly rockier song with some really heavy guitar riffs, which leads nicely into “Dawns” – foot-tappingly smooth with its back beat and more snarly vocals.
Mannequins hail from Roeun, France, and we spoke to Adrian D’Epinay from the band:
Tell us the “Mannequins” story. Where are you from, who else is in your band, how did you come together?
Well, I started this band in our hometown Rouen, France, back in 2013. I was playing in some bands before, but I felt like I needed something new at the time so I gathered Mathieu (drummer) and Clément (bass player), who would later be replaced by Woods and Max. We’ve also been joined by Robin and Vincent, who play guitars, keyboards, tambourine…they also sing, dance, and share an outstanding passion for Phil Collins.
You describe “Mannequins” as “Rock/Indie/Post Punk” – what does that mean to you?
I like to think of our music as a precarious balance : we’re permanently oscillating from screechy guitar noises to poppy vocal parts, I know this isn’t a brand new musical approach but it’s still a lot of fun to mess up catchy melodies with unbearable guitar feedback!
Regarding genres, obviously we’re a lot into modern Brooklyn bands, British post punk stuff, but we feel the need to dig a bit deeper than this and reinterpret things that we find pertinent in any kind of music. Well, I’ve been listening to 60s Motown all week-long, so who knows what we might get out of it…
Talk us through “Worthless”. What’s your thinking behind the album? Who writes most of the music?
Probably half of the songs from the ‘Worthless’ album have been written when I was living in Cardiff, UK. I think the first song I ever wrote for this band was ‘Dawns’. I write most of the material of the songs, I do the lyrics as well, which is probably the hardest part since I like to see things through a non-narrative lense, but the guys are really helpful regarding song structures, how we sound, and simply the identity of the band.
What would be your advice to anyone wanting to get into the music industry?
Weeeell if you ask me what would be my advice to anyone wanting to get into the music industry…there’s no magic potion. That’s the same old story, just get your hands dirty, work on your songs until your eyes pop out of their sockets, and be fucking dumb. Music has to be a little dumb so that it doesn’t get lame.
What lies ahead for “Mannequins”?
So far we’ve been releasing this debut album a few days ago and I think we’re all proud of it as a whole so we’re planning a short UK Tour to support it, as well as dates in France, and some festivals this summer.