MNNQNS

Body Negative

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The full-length debut from vowel-averse French post-punks MNNQNS (pronounced "mannequins"), Body Negative pits textured blasts of noise against whip-tight grooves and invasive pop melodies. Hailing from the city of Rouen, the group is led by singer/guitarist Adrian D'Epinay, whose time as a student in the Welsh capital of Cardiff informed some of the more psych-driven tendencies -- and very likely his prominent U.K. accent -- he and his bandmates implement here. Body Negative follows the group's 2016 EP, Capital, a well-produced but overall tamer representation of their capabilities, which have flowered more fully with this release. Opening with a brief, self-titled pastiche of harsh rhythmic loops, MNNQNS arrive with a vengeance, condensing their atomic might into "NotWhatYouThoughtYouKnew," a little punk furnace of serrated edges, interlocking gears, and smart-pop abrasions. Out of the gate, they flash melodic chops, group harmonies, and jangling riffs while retaining their experimental cred by riding the outer rim of sonic discomfort. While guitars rule the day, keys also pepper the mix, especially the machine-like harpsichord tones of "Double Visions" and "Limits of Town," two of Body Negative's standouts. At under two minutes, the brash, tuneless "Urinals" represents MNNQNS' most brutal face, while the richly harmonic and entirely drumless "Stagnant Pools" shows them at their dreamiest. There's a lot going on in these fierce, energetic songs, but D'Epinay keeps the hooks in abundance, turning what could be a grimly industrial affair into something rather captivating.

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