They’re not exact fits, but I have a hard time listening to Héritage without imagining some of the songs set to certain scenes in Drive, Nicolas Winding Refn’s abundantly stylish 2011 thriller that featured College’s Electric Youth collaboration, “A Real Hero”. The glowing thump of the new album’s “Depart” would be ideal accompaniment for the Driver, Irene, and Benicio hurtling down a Los Angeles levy, sun baking the windshield. There’s also that Gosling-Mulligan kiss right before he scatters pieces of his potential assailant’s nasal bones all over the elevator, to which the radiant “Revelation” would go nicely (during the kiss, that is).
With Héritage, College (one of several projects from Nantes native David Grellier) has reinforced its synonymy with the film that helped make the act, for a few months anyway, one of the most fashionable in independent music. This association works for better and worse. The sonic makeup of Héritage – synths and kick-snare patterns, bouncing basslines here and there – is largely unchanging, so the album’s contrasts come from its changes in tone. Sometimes, that’s enough: “Une vele silencieuse” is a woozy glide caked with far-off synth twinkles, while the loose “TempÃªte magnétique” is the one track here that winds up far from where it started.
In light of Kavinsky’s Outrun, another recent album from the musical alumni of Drive, Heritage is unadventurous fare. Granted, the Kavinsky record deliberately tread far and wide, jumping from disco-rap to heavy robotic riffage. But, Grellier doesn’t experiment at all on Héritage, doesn’t offer anything the album’s predecessors (2008’s Secret Diary and 2011’s brighter Northern Council) didn’t. The 34-year-old owns this type of glossy, geometric synth-pop, and has for a while. He’s arguably perfected it. But he’s not making much of an attempt to advance, and sometimes standing your ground looks a lot like retreating.
Essential Tracks: “Départ”, “Les automates”, and “Nouveau chapitre”