Review: Rendez Vous — Superior State

Waiting for a debut album from a band whose first singles/EPs you fell hopelessly in love with can be a tricky, even disappointing thing — it’s like having a wonderfully dedicated lover but all magic disappearing when you finally go steady, you know? However, every once in a while you get it right and everything is as perfect as you dreamed it would be. It even feels like witchcraft.

That’s the case with Rendez Vous’s much anticipated debut full length Superior State, the band’s first proper LP that follows 2016 EP Distance. Currently shaping up to be this country’s next great musical export after the likes of La Femme and Christine & the Queens, theirs is an uncanny coldwave sound that simultaneously throws us back to those golden postpunk years without ever completely removing its foot from the here and now. Yes, the now quintet (they have added Guillaume Rotter on drums since I saw them live for Distance’s release party at Les Bains) does drink from that perfectly mixed cocktail distilled from Jeunes Gens Modernes and French Touch in equal measure, but the sonic appropriation they make of the Mancunian industrial disenchantment finds its maximal expression throughout the unspoken violence of Francis Mallari’s voice, which is able to transmit the rawness of a consented slap in the face.

You find yourself being sucked into details such as the cradling bass line of the title track, the nervously insistent riff of ‘Sentimental Animal’, or the industrial cadence of the beat in ‘Crisis’ — all of them punctuated by blindly obedient synths and properly brought to life through the magic touch of Matt Peel (who mixed the LP) and Sarah Register, who mastered the whole thing in New York.

A perfect record for Scorpio season (or any season really, for that matter), Superior State’s strength and overall pertinence navigates between the déjà-vu and the ability of alchemically producing something de facto new. You find yourself swimming in dark and poisonous waters, hopelessly trying to reach a light you no longer know if it’s real or a mere hallucination, while the whirlpool pulls you down and lifts you up at the same time — just like the most addictive drugs do.

Originally published at

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