Reviews

Order89 – Barbara | movement is paramount unless you’re dancing to someone else’s tune

Order 89 are a Parisian band delivering French New Wave with a twist – their music is both measured and wild.

  Order89 are a Parisian band delivering French New Wave with a twist – their music is both measured and wild. Clear influences of Joy Division are seen in my favourite track ‘Barbara’ featured on the album ‘Bleu Acier’ that was released last October via Icy Cold Records. The album is brooding poetry with synthesised emotions and poignant lyrics.

  Post-punk but pre-techno, Order89 are doing what I love – something different. The group consists of Jordi (lead singer, guitar, bass), Flavien (keyboard) and Elliot (guitar). From research of the mysterious French band, using my mediocre B1 level French knowledge, I discovered Order89 see themselves as 80s babies bringing beauty of the past into a ‘glorious’ future. These time-travellers have been around for a decade, mastery shown in their craft, such as ‘Barbara’.

Listen to Barbara via YouTube or Spotify

  The scene is set with the strum of a strong guitar, with further reverb-y guitar stacking up to build a discordant landscape. This scenery is then interrupted by a guitar slide and throaty vocals pleading “danse avec moi”. The most interesting thing about ‘Barbara’s sonics is the rhythms created with dark instrumentation. Buzzing guitar is built up and back down again along with the dull thud of the bass drum: a head-banger. What can only be achieved with a good quality slider is the almost-motorized sound of the guitar slide that adds an appropriate amount of tongue-in-cheek grit.

“Danse avec moi”

The message of the song appears to be simple – movement is paramount, unless you’re dancing to someone else’s tune. As a listener, I feel invigorated by the track; the powerful, calculated hubbub is captivating in a way that transcends language. The lyrics do not appear the most important part of the track, which is unusual, and yet intriguing for the post-punk new wave style that Order89 rest in.

Order89
Order89

  The ‘Barbara’ music video was released on February 28th, a grungy, monochromatic aesthetic trademarked with dark coils of smoke created by Maison Mouton Noir. The aesthetic feels like edging on parodic, yet artistic director Layla Gras demonstrates individuality in the visuals. An attractive, androgynous dancer clad in leather, prances around an urban, brutalist setting that seems straight outta Barbican. The protagonist’s body jerks, seemingly compelled by the omniscient narrator’s husky “danse avec moi”.

Order89

These shots are juxtaposed with that of a gorgeous canine, also prancing, but in nature rather than a synthetic surrounding. A lull in music is accompanied by a caesura in movement, the camera preferring fixed to tracking shots so as to momentarily concentrate on clutched roses a-flame. By the resolution of the video, movement ceases, and the guitar lick fades out along with the flames of desire and the burning roses.  Everyone loves a good black-and-white-shot of some charring foliage, but the music video didn’t make all that much sense to me. I’m sure if I search deep into the caverns of my allegory-loving mind, I could come up with a commentary on the fragility of nature, where love is a natural and controlling force, but I don’t think the meaning is all that salient here. Just like an Ariana Grande, or perhaps more fittingly, a Joy Division music video, sometimes vague messages and a sick aesthetic is enough.

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Gem Stokes
the authorGem Stokes
19 year old vegan studying English lit at Queen Mary University London. Aspiring music journalist and/or foreign news correspondent. I'm usually best found at a gig or with my heart in a book

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