Sometimes, the name of a band can offer a significant degree of insight to the artist in question. Literally translating to the raven, Le Corbeau draws their moniker from a controversial 1943 film of the same name, produced by a German company during the occupation of France. In Le Corbeau, a series of poison pen letters accuse a doctor of adultery and performing illegal abortions, turning the people of a small French town against each other. Appropriately, then, Le Corbeaus moody third album, Moth on the Headlight, is the sound of film noir.
Le Corbeau began as a solo project from Serena Maneesh guitarist Ãystein Sandsdalen, and Moth on the Headlight just might be the bleakest outing yet. The album-opening title track evokes images of film noir quite easily. Although menacing at a primeval level, the opening track also does it with a style thats decidedly cool. Black Belvedere deftly layers the baleful pieces, with strings, saxophones, malevolent vocals, and psychedelic guitars coming together for orchestral effect. At nearly 10 minutes in length, the instrumental distortion-fest Mizogumo (Head in the Trees)” comes across as excessively long and plodding at times, but mesmerizingly claustrophobic at others.
An ever-present darkness casts a shadow throughout Moth on the Headlight, even on the albums brighter moments. Yvette Rosemont, for example, features dreamy female vocals awash in a sea of guitar fuzz, except here the sea is churned into a storm, thanks to ominous brass notes. Rather than merely conjuring nostalgia, Le Corbeau makes forward-thinking shoegaze and experimental guitar music, all filtered through vintage film influences. Forget dream pop: The dark and impenetrable Moth on the Headlight is more akin to a nightmare.