Feu de Joie - Protostar (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Feu de Joie

Protostar (2006)


Feu de Joie got first dibs from my new review pile due to its elaborate packaging: textured black sleeve with manila envelope-style closure containing a slim jewel case with the CD, a thick booklet with some tissue-paper type pages and a miniature envelope with a note addressed to… Brian Shultz. Yeah, well, it's cool. It is all clearly kinda DIY, but the effort put in is honorable. So I cleared all the packaging and threw it in. Eh, it's okay I guess.

The New Jersey trio usher us into Nerd City right off the bat with the prog album title in combination with the song titles being the planets in order from closest to the Sun on outward (I think this came out before that Pluto debate was settled -- kinda sucks for the band, who included it). And their promo photos -- is that dude wearing a cape?!

I will give the band this -- they cover quite a bit of ground. From Hum-style spacey alterna-rock (bridge of "Venus," the later half of "Pluto") to the clean guitar of fleeting indie moments (verses of "Jupiter," handclap part on "Neptune"), prog moments with odd time signatures (intro of "Venus") harder modern emo-influenced sections ("Mercury"), and screamy metalcore moments ("Saturn"), they usually use many within a single song. I almost wish there was more screaming, because Ralph Chudley's raspy shouts nearly recall a young Rollins -- just check out the end of "Mars" "(She's evolutionized!)." Screaming is preferred because when he sings it's often out of key and failing to reach those high notes, and is not compelling enough to make up for it.

After the second and third listenings I find the record growing on me, or at the very least not annoying me (except maybe in its sheer length). It's not bad. But of its many parts, none are all that unique in themselves. Still, it's unfortunate that the band seems stagnant as an online search will reveal no shows for the band, and they may very well have broken up. It seemed that they loved what they did, evident by their cramming every idea they had into these songs, and in their art by putting a lot of time into the design of the disc.

But I guess that old cliché goes both ways: Don't judge a book by its cover.