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Right Hand Left Hand - Zone Rouge (Bubblewrap Collective)

11 December 2019

The current pathetic fallacy of political systems which have intruded into the heart of society has provided audiences with rebellious tones of sound. Not just escapism from the world but a fight back with futuristic pulses of effervescent invention. The latest by Right Hand-Left Hand is the exact Orwellian vibration that is needed. Zone Rouge is a conceptual themed outing which focuses on the almost contempt from humanity towards the world, the climate, and even nature itself. A thematic piece of work which is relevant in 2019, and that is to be applauded. Not the first of its type this year, but Right Hand-Left Hand provide one of the more interesting attempts at relating this societal nightmare to audiences, and thankfully there are liner notes to explain this fully. 

Zone Rouge opens with “Mirny”, the name for the mining town which, with its open pit is ready to consume the town and its inhabitants. And from the start, the album detonates with crunching, feedback-drenched guitars urgent roaring along. Into “Prora”, the vacation hideaway, focuses on the rewards for the evil, the track projects this in a funky-upbeat manner. With phased vocals and a plethora of swirling electronic noise the album really takes shape from this point on.

“Floreana”, perhaps a personal standout is a cracking, rocking track, and the Chemical Brothers meets a garage band sound dissipates and Right Hand-Left Hand really come into their own as the sounds shift into atmospheric ambience. The haunting riffs of “Smyrna” are eloquently executed, menacing but hypnotic. Similarly, “Clipperton” remains within this context, with a more nostalgic feel, perhaps even late seventies, but what appears heavy on context becomes easy on the ear. Even on the more doom-laden “White Sands”, the term for the Trinity test in New Mexico which saw the testing and detonation of nuclear weapons. The track is a collision of synth and indie-rock, still holding a slight funk as it blisters along. 

One pre-release bite from this album came in the form of the single “Chacabuco” which featured former Estrons front-woman Taliesyn Kallstrom on vocals. That gave audiences a glimpse not so much at the heavy theme but the sound, one which builds with dramatic tempos that become layered over the simplest riff, rising in a menacing crescendo, melodic, and dynamic with the in-your-face emotive vocals of Kallstrom.

The album closes with the title track, the restricted area as if earth itself is becoming that doomed landscape where nobody can go. All these themes do not overpower Zone Rouge. Instead, Right Hand-Left Hand makes an interesting statement surrounding the evil which has been exacted on the earth, and asks the question ‘is it too late to avoid eventual catastrophe?’

6.Terra Nullius   
7.White Sands   
10.Chacabuco (Feat. Taliesyn Kallstrom)   
11.Zone Rouge