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Customer reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Format: Audio CD|Change
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on 31 August 2016
Alcest are a fairly new band to me and I lked a few of their tracks like Aurte Temps and so on. But Shelter seems to be on another level.
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on 7 February 2014
The opening moments of Shelter are tremendous. A spacious, reverberating thud of bass drum, the simple vocal melody, soaring into the fully blown ‘Opale’, a glorious breath of fresh air. It’s a positive and joyful experience every time. What makes it even more special, aside from the soulful instrumentation, is the other-language effect: making the voice an instrument that moulds with the music and allows the sound as a whole to be the focal point.

From ‘Opale’, the album continues with a consistent musical approach, a more polished and bright recording than previous releases, leaning heavily toward a ‘wall-of-sound’ production, and herein lies my disappointment with the album. Alcest were always interesting because they created a metal-infused style of shoegaze, with many traits of the black-metal genre supplementing their sound. Black metal is not for everyone, not for the majority of people even, but Alcest played major-quality shoegaze and by incorporating a much heavier style, yet still postitive in tone, they had managed to carve something completely different out of the genre. The ability to reflect light and dark to the extremes within one song was always captivating.

With ‘Shelter’, Alcest have embraced a ‘fully-shoegaze’ direction; the album is made up of beautiful, positive music. Whilst this will be a step-forward in mainstream ability, it feels like a step-back in terms of the identity Alcest were still in the process of creating. I understand the move; it’s a good time for Alcest to do this. They’ve been going long enough to have garnered something of a cult following, and a cult-following will always be open minded to changes. There is an aspect of trust in the artist; the genius. There will be those, like myself however, that get a little lost on the way.

My disappointment, which I put forward purely as my own single opinion, is in the lack of engagement this music now offers. Alcest’s previous albums were wonders to me, so unique and well realised, a style of music that was relaxing and yet kept you on your toes. It feels unlikely that Alcest will step back into that territory now, because what they’ve done with Shelter, they’ve done really well. This album is a great piece of background music, to study to, to think to; it’s perfect. What it lacks is the egagement and excitement that made Alcest truly stand out in a growing genre.
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on 3 February 2014
Stumbling across this album after trawling through various Best of 2014 review sites it came as a slight surprise to be thrown back into a 1990s Boo Radleyesque time warp with large doses of Slowdive, early M83, and Sigur Ros reverby anthemic and progressive song structures; there are also shades of indie dream scape guitars a la Vini Reilly and Robin Guthrie and so on... and more currently Maps...

If you are hooked by any of the above musical name checks but include a distinctly French soft lilting and moody chanteur, and... enjoy having your ears tuned into a world of catchy, guitar effects-laden drenched lead lines, that alternate as modern Coldplay-like punchy melodies, filled out with emo rock choruses, then, give this album a try; it is a journey into the author's fairy world and great great escapism!

There was a even a point when the quality of song writing belied the relatively unknown status of Neige (Stephane Paut) and would be surely worthy of some mainstream success in the hands of more established acts. My worry, therefore, is that this album will pass into the oblivion of shoe gaze history without recognition similar to Pale Saint's The Comfort of Madness.

Ps. The album was produced by Sigur Ros's Birgir Jon Birgisson, known as "Biggi", at his Sundlaugin Studio in Iceland.
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on 3 May 2015
I listen to this album when I'm anxious. I've loved Alcest for some time (yes, I'm a metalhead and I was originally drawn by their heavier background). I would recommend this album to anyone who loves soft, melodic, atmospheric shoegaze/post-metal or simply anyone looking to relax and let their mind drift. The lyrics are gorgeous and well worth looking up, even if you don't speak French.
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on 21 March 2014
If you are coming to this because of the metal background that Alcest had, forget it...
I was very skeptic, but this turns out to be one of the best cds from I heard from them...
The only negative that I point is that the last songs are not so good (in terms of big songs) like the first 3/4 songs of the cd.
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on 4 March 2014
A somewhat different sound from Alcests earlier releases, this album is easily accessible and well produced. In fact what we get on this album is a sound closer to recent Anathema releases, ethereal and beautiful music.
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on 11 February 2015
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