With no hesitation, the band opens the album with a screaming example of their mind boggling complexity with the stellar track “Déjà Vu.” Bouncing from off time explosions of rhythm to bubbling masses of bass fluidity to edgy prog influenced guitar breaks to melody rich vocal passages, this song captures damn near every essence of We Insist! What makes this song more noodle twisting and incomprehensible is that the drummer, Etienne Gaillochet, is also the lead vocalist. Hello! How in God’s name can he pull this stuff off?!?!? The moment I first heard this song I simply could not believe what I was hearing. Sure . . . I know a lot of things can be done in the studio to soften the edges and bring a little shine to an otherwise rough and haggard appearance, but c’mon! Are you hearing what I’m hearing? Just the mere idea that music can be performed in this manner is enough to perplex even the greatest minds!
And remember . . . that’s just the first song! We Insist! isn’t satisfied with making us scratch our heads in wonder for a mere five minutes. Oh no! They’re hell bent on putting us through this for near an hour. “Oakleaves,” and “Efficiency and Bad Habits,” are terrifying examples of what the unfettered musical mind can accomplish. Huge moving pieces of sound, roiling through the ether and ultimately hurling every turbulent note against the rocky shore of our subconscious mind. Beautiful melodies that soar in the foreground while droning notes and heavily distorted chords build a foundation of unrest behind the beauty. Both songs show the bands eagerness to explore different sounds as well. Not content with the standard rock format of instruments, We Insist! incorporate xylophones, saxophones, and some of the most bizarre tones a synthesizer can emit. It’s one thing to experiment with sound, but it’s something completely different when a musician can make it sound good. These guys have done that and more!
Let’s face it . . . the whole album is incredible. I could sit back and dissect every song, but that would potentially ruin your experience and deprive you of your own sound exploration. Suffice it to say, you’ll never get bored with The Babel Inside Was Terrible because there’s always something new and exciting, fresh and death defying around every musical corner. We Insist! aren’t afraid of trying something new, following their muse no matter what time signature it’s grooving to, simply to achieve self satisfaction for the art that they produce. And maybe that’s one reason I dig this so much . . . the fact that this band isn’t content with just riding a groove to death or playing the expected notes at the expected times. They challenge the listener to rethink or relearn what they’ve heard up to this point. We Insist! are the Indiana Jones of the music world, in search of the music world’s lost treasures and finding adventure along the way. Let’s just hope they don’t meet an unflattering end in the process. In my book, they captured the bad guys, rescued the damsel in distress, and collected a handsome bounty for their efforts. The world simply needs more music like this. - Pope JTE