This self-titled debut from Brussels-based quartet Cafeneon is sort of what you'd expect from a group of fairly young musicians who haven't quite worked out all their kinks yet. Flirting with a lot of different styles, it flirts with greatness in places only to leave you wanting in others, dipping into everything from sharp-edged post-punk rockouts to disco pop and kraut-like workouts that stir in a healthy helping of feedback and noise.
The brisk (nine songs run just under thirty-five minutes) release jumps out of the gates with "Patine" and only slow down a couple times from there out. Combining a rubbery bassline with metronomic beats, blistering guitar, keyboard blurps and male vocals in french, the song has a punk feel that's frayed at the edges with odd shifts and segues. "Orange" is just as jumpy, lurching forward with a sort of mechanical disco feel that's again led around by the rhythm section as tinny guitars slash and male/female vocals add everything from breathy coo's to near-robotic lines.
Produced by longtime electronic producer and artist Christian Vogel, there are places where Cafeneon really breaks free into something new and exciting. "L'instant" keeps time with a crisp pop of snare, but floats warm synths and guitars together into a warm bed of beautiful dance pop, as back-and-forth male/female vocals pull the listener in closer. Likewise, album-closer "Charlie" breaks off into haunting, minimal techno-inspired sonics that mingle heart-racing beats and low-end murmurs with eerie synth layering, creepy electronics, and drifting vocals that shove you down the rabbit-hole face first. In other places, the group dips into dub ("Bari-Pompei") and fairly straightforward shoegazery pop ("Yssandon"), but the results aren't quite as exciting as when they're breaking out of the mold. An often-fun, but not quite there yet debut.