The French oi! scene has always been a musical melting pot with its own distinct style. Pioneered by the likes of Komintern Sect or Camera Silens – these in particular were happy to bring new wave elements into the mix. Later on Hard Times introduced hardcore elements whilst maintaining that French feeling. Notably most bands sang in their native language rather than English and that really helped define the style. For the past five years or so the scene has been stronger than ever and Une Vie Pour Rien has been instrumental in its documentation. This collection showcases a broad range of bands, some of whom have been moving and shaking for a while and others who are new names on the circuit. The likes of Atlantes, Squelette and Bromure have got the “members of Lions Law” tag which is sure to attract additional interest, and other bands like Coupe Gorge, Kronstadt, Sous Escorte or Ultra Razzia have been gathering attention over the past year or so.
The whole range of styles is equally represented on here, with some bands paying loyal tribute to the roots of the sound for example Ultra Razzia with their contribution Sanglantes Certitudes. A few bands dip their toes deeper into new wave territory, just as Breton band Syndrome 81 had been doing very successfully a few years ago. Others follow the Hard Times path of introducing a heavier Iron Cross or Negative Approach raw hardcore feel. It means the compilation never gets stale, without any of the bands stretching the boundaries further than necessary. Speaking of boundaries and borders, it has to be said not all of these bands are French, with contributions from French-speaking Canada or Switzerland included. Yet again we have solid proof that the French (and associated) scene is pretty much the strongest one on the go at the moment. Tom Chapman