Dernière Volonté – Commémoration

In a very short period Dernière Volonté, whose music is often described as ‘military pop’, has become one of my favourite acts. This French act has only released two albums yet, but also quite a few vinyl singles and compilation tracks, some of which are highly sought after. So I’m quite happy with this double cd compilation with over 20 rare DV tracks.

‘Commémoration’ is build up chronologically. You can clearly hear the development of Dernière Volonté. On the first cd, with material from 1998-2000, the material sounds rawer and more minimal. The main elements of the music are already present though: heroic themes, marching rhythms, new wave-like melancholic synths and often a catchy melody with French poppy vocals. Though Dernière Volonté uses elements which other bands have employed in the past, like In the Nursery, their sound is nevertheless instantly recognizable.

Especially the hymns ‘Soldat’ and ‘En avant’ of the first Hau Ruck!single are nice, minimal but effective and archetypical for DV’s music. Also fine is ‘Le doux poison’, an outtake from ‘Le feux sacré’. Quite well-known is ‘Ma foi est mon combat’, a slow bombastic piece which makes me think of Gae Bolg a little. But there are also less melodic, tranquil piano and ambient pieces present on this disc. Certainly not uninteresting, but harder to appreciate if you know Dernière Volonté more recent music.

Cd 2 contains newer tracks from 2001 till 2003, which are poppier and more refined than the older material. On this disc quite a few ‘hits’ can be fo.und, which put me in a really good mood, despite the perhaps melancholic undertone. The single tracks ‘Ou tu iras’ and ‘Mon mercenaire’ (with Novy Svet) make me wanna dance, imagining that my living room has turned into an obscure French café. Irrestible rhythms, cheerful accordeon, catchy melodies, some bells and organs now and then… Also very nice are ‘ Un refrain solitaire’, which sounds like a solemn procession, and the rather cheerful ‘Songe d’u matin d’été. Quite funny is ‘Coeur de L’égionnaire’, from the Ain Soph tribute.

‘Commémoration’ is certainly a release which gives me quite some pleasure. Especially the second disc contains very strong material, while the first cd is at least interesting for ‘historic’ reasons.

artist: Dernière Volonté
label: Hau Ruck!
details: 2cd, 21 tracks [HR!67]