“Rivières” is taken from Requin Chagrin‘s excellent sophomore album Sémaphore, out via KMS Disques.
Whilst their sophomore album Sémaphore was released back in January this year (and stands as one of our favourite records of 2019), French dream-pop band Requin Chagrin, the brainchild of lead singer Marion Brunetto, have been touring extensively throughout France and working on the visual interpretation of their most recent single “Rivières”.
The track follows in a similar vein as a lot of their discography; deceptively upbeat, freewheeling surfer style guitars that hide depths of melancholy and heartache. There’s a yearning, a desperate sense of urgency and pining to “Rivières” that stems from those very same guitars. When they’re allowed to ring out uninterrupted, they entangle with Marion Brunetto’s vocals in such a way that the sadness is amplified.
Having said this, with “Rivières”, Requin Chagrin have taken what could’ve been an overdone metaphor – the image of heartache and sadness as drowning – and given it a physical embodiment that’s not overly melodramatic.
The lyrics do possess the majesty and poetry of the sublime. There’s a sense of being in awe of nature and an appreciation of the beauty and vastness of water. Brunetto sings “Au delà des ruisseaux/Oh les rivières n’ont pas dormi/Ton nom les déchaîne” which translates to “Beyond the streams/Oh the rivers did not sleep/Your name unleashes them”. This displays perfectly a consuming passion that she doesn’t manage to free herself from despite the passing of time. Deep in her emotional memory, she recalls the skin of her lover and, because of these trigger thoughts, she feels both vulnerable and aroused. The several metaphors of raging water and rivers beautifully express the sexual desire, her inner storms, and the difficulties to weigh the anchor and move on.
This is all beautifully encapsulated by the video accompaniment that shows the four-piece becoming steadily engulfed by water, the falling rain drenching them as they stoically play on with reckless abandon, becoming literally soaked in their own sadness. It closes with a singular warped note playing out as their equipment reaches the bottom of the now fully submerged room. Drowning in your own sorrows never sounded or looked so good.
Requin Chagrin will be playing in La Boule Noire (Paris) on February 6.