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F.U.C.K. - Funny Ugly Cute Karma. Great acronym. Love it! That perennially useful expression of astonishment, anger, shock, bemusement, euphoria, etc. But it was more with astonishment and euphoria... and a touch of bemusement... that I've been experiencing this French outfit's debut EP, 'Before It Was Cool'. It's quirky, different and fresh, yet has enough familiar handles to draw you in, before hitting you with its delightful idiosyncrasies. And I love a bit of quirk in my music. This is, perhaps, the most musically quirky thing to emerge from France since Christophe Godin's batty sonic shenanigans with both Mörglbl and Gnô.

Founded by vocalist supremo Adeline Bellart (aka Chaos Heidi), who previously fronted Asylum Pyre, she's also joined by bassist/guitarist Dorian Gilbeau in this venture. And what they've created is musical bliss. I adore this. Every song is different, with its own unique identity. Not only that, but the shifts in style and mood within each composition remain wonderfully varied and deliciously unpredictable.

On the opener, 'On the Run', heavied-up riffage across changing, yet well-transitioned, different time signatures are overlaid with Bellart's magnificent growls. Some of the best death growls I've ever heard, to be honest, with both tonality and incisive bite, and with perfect phrasing (in fact, the vocal phrasing throughout the EP is first-class). Some clean vocals over a System of a Down inspired bridge gives way to an anthemic chorus that sounds reminiscent of another French act, Whyzdom... certainly like something Vynce Leff might compose... must be something in the compositional waters over the channel. Oh yeah, a cat features in the track, too. I've always said we need more cats in metal. That's just the innate ailurophile in me, though.

The second track, 'Shelter', has some funk and jazz flavours; some semi-spoken-word parts; more beautiful growls; brilliant builds into hard-hitting crescendos; and contrasting moments of diminuendo. In parts, it reminds me of 'Visions'-era Mordred for some reason, this one... in terms of how they've blended other styles with metal.

The third piece, 'Nuage De Maux' is loaded with sublime allure, largely courtesy of Bellart's smooth-spoken French... the seductively beautiful language it is... which sounds even more enchanting here. To be fair, she could recite her weekly shopping list and it'd still sound sublimely velvety.. Her spoken word stuff contrasts sharply and effectively with her growls in this one, on another track that defies categorization. Sure, it's metal at core... but the stylistic divergences feel fresh, once again.

The fourth and final track is a cover of System of a Down's 'Radio/Video', which promises some kind of Nintendo-core resurgence with its 16-bit styled intro sounds, yet it develops into more familiar territory for those who know the original. And, I'm going to be wholly controversial here - this version by Funny Ugly Cute Karma shits on the SOAD original. If you're going to cover a song, by any band, obscure or well-known, it should only be attempted and unleashed on the listening public if you can either better the source, or offer up something different. This French mob have achieved both.

In short, if, like me, you thrive of quirkiness in your music, and originality, but with accessible and alluring handles, then buy this right now. It's amazing and something very refreshing indeed. Vocally and musically, it's brilliant. Bellart's range as a singer, both in terrms of style and tonality, is incredible. Funny Ugly Cute Karma deserve to have a hugely successful future. Let's hope they get the exposure and interest they fucking well deserve!
Code 7 - M&O Music
Review by Mark Holmes
12th October 2018
1) On the Run
2) Shelter
3) Nuage De Maux
4) Radio Video
"It's quirky, different and fresh, yet has enough familiar handles to draw you in, before hitting you with its delightful idiosyncrasies."