Chronique | Night Club - Masochist

Pierre Sopor 29 mars 2024

For just over ten years, Emily Kavanaugh and Mark Brooks have been putting glitters in the darkness with their melancholy-tinged electronica and gently obscure themes. Night Club is accessible, fun and seductive: imagine for a moment that Britney Spears or Kylie Minogue, in the midst of their teenage crisis, had discovered the likes of Tim Burton, The Addams Family, Depeche Mode and The Birthday Massacre, and you'll have an idea of the duo's universe. The Californians are back with Masochist, a fifth album once again mixed by the illustrious Dave 'Rave' Ogilvie, who must have found all this sunnier than his work with Skinny Puppy!

Speaking of sunshine, it's under the Los Angeles sun that Night Club has found a special guest to open with Gone, giving it a twilight hue: we don't know how Maynard James Keenan (Tool, A Perfect Circle, Puscifer) got involved into this, but his voice, in harmony with Kavanaugh's, always works wonders and, once you've loosened up, hearing him in a lighter register is great fun and opens the album on a nuanced note full of promise.

Masochist is certainly playful and fun, packed with potential hits, contagious stuff that won't let go of anyone who hasn't run away from the promise of so much frivolity: Barbwire Kiss, Crime Scene, Pretty Girls do Ugly Things, Everybody Knows... It sometimes sounds like a version Aesthetic Perfection that would traitorously pretend to behave, masking the rough edges to trick us. Masochist, with its discreetly vague mood, sometimes takes on more theatrical airs that are highly successful: while the cover of Fun Boy Three's Lunatics Have Taken Over the Asylum lacks the strangeness of the original, we're happy to be swept along by its gentle madness (and we'd have loved to hear an accordion, for example, to turn the whole thing into a ramshackle cabaret), while Black December has all the makings of an ideal closing theme, the kind of thing you'd throw at a funeral where everyone's dressed like a princess. The verdict is clear: Masochist is diabolically enjoyable with its calibrated beats and sinister lyrics.

That's Night Club's main strength: managing to produce seemingly smooth, superficial tracks of immediate effectiveness while injecting enough emotion and darkness to give them the irresistible taste of poisoned candy. Masochist is a well-chosen title: yes, it hurts to be corrupted by this music, neither particularly tortured nor demanding in form, which could ultimately make mojito-drinking muggles dance, but it's also very pleasant. Well done Night Club, such a lovely trap whose beautiful nuances are hidden under a thick crust of make-up: you've won, we'll let you replace our cobwebs with a bit of candyfloss.