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Wonderspleen enter spheres of French melancholic rock

Wonderspleen follow in the footsteps of Noir Désir and Diabolo Gum.

(Christophe Dutoit)

The Swiss-French band, Wonderspleen, has released its second album, a mixture of English and French songs reflecting daily life.

The four band members say they hope the new album, titled "Fais comme si de rien", (Do as if there's nothing), will enable them to tour across France next year.

French media, and radio stations in particular, have already responded positively to Wonderspleen's characteristic sound.

"Our style is quite melancholic and dark, with heavy guitars and texts written in French," said Manu Colliard, the lead singer. "And our rhythms are slow and heavy."

The band's lyrics are mainly concerned with daily life, but Wonderspleen drummer, Jean-Luc Gapany, says they prefer not to limit themselves to particular topics.

"Our songs talk about all sorts of things, like love, sex and anything concerning daily life," says Gapany. "But we don't talk about revolution."

Resisting tensions

Wonderspleen say their main strength is being able to talk openly to each other, which has enabled them to overcome difficult situations and the tensions sometimes generated by frequent practices.

The band also has a good relationship with its label, It's time to. "Our manager doesn't impose any barriers," Colliard explained. "We have complete artistic freedom in what we do."

Earning a living

The four band members have full-time jobs, but they say this has not been an obstacle to their success.

"Having full-time jobs has rather been an advantage, because we were able to pay for our album, and so remained independent artistically and financially," Manu explained.

The band started out with four school friends living in Bulle, a town located in a picturesque area known as Gruyère. Colliard, Gapany, Sébastien Lauper (guitars) and Laurent Gremaud (bass) initially called themselves "Spleen".

Spleen turns into Wonderspleen

The group had to change its name to "Wonderspleen" after discovering that a French band carrying Baudelaire's famed term already existed. The band then began looking for concerts, and performed in public for the first time at Bulle's main rock venue.

"The first significant moment for our band, as for any band, was our first concert, which took place at Ebullition in Bulle," said Colliard.

"We played a few more times, and then decided to produce a six-track CD, which helped us to find a manager and to be noticed by French-speaking radios," he added.

Wonderspleen's second and latest album enabled them to play at one of France's main rock events, "Les Eurockéennes" in Belfort - an experience they described as "extraordinary".

by Jeff Nottage

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