Tranzat – Ouh La La Review

Tranzat won me over before I even heard a single note, their pétillant persona piquing all the “must listen” bones in my body. On a scale of swell to swole, these proggy French funnymen are decidedly swell-diddly-umptious. Not only have they provided a boy-band-meets-bowling-league cover art for our supreme enjoyment, but also they have adorned their merch page for Ouh La La with silly posters1, silly shirts, and reasonable prices. You can even send them your own shirt (or turtleneck or polo) that they will gladly screen print for you. Perhaps for this third outing, Tranzat has finally coordinated with a highly supportive label. Perhaps, it is simply time for these goofy golf buddies to break par. For all the pomp and circumstance surrounding Ouh La La, can this collection of tunes strike both a comical and captivating success?

This prix fixe of prog certainly hosts a strong effort, owing a lot to the zany palate pioneered by the theatrically-minded madman Devin Townsend. Continuing to pull inspiration from the Canadian idol, vocalist Manuel Liégard delivers a well-seasoned vocal performance of higher range croons, sideshow cackles, and bubbling bellows. The agile mouth-smith even manages to be just one hog howl short of a full-on brutal pig-pen breakdown at the end of “Climbing Tibetan Mountains to Learn the Secrets of the Mind.” Rounding out the experience, Tranzat brings an earthy, bluesy approach to prog that’s somewhere between the dry stoner rumbles of Red Fang (“Lord Dracula”) and alt-rock stained harmonies of Galactic Cowboys (“Mr. Awesome,” “Morning Glories”). Regardless of what’s on the table, this style of progressive metal aims for flavors that are just as classic as they are haute.

While Ouh La La is not entirely an ode to the shiny-headed legend, the Townsend-styled servings present themselves quite clearly. The classic scream-shout bridge to wild solo or breakdown is a staple of heavier Devy albums like the Ziltoid works or Deconstruction—Tranzat uses these like fresh shaved parmesan on well-dressed pasta (“Shall We Dance,” “My Dear Washer”). Per the etiquette of Strapping Young Lad, we’re treated to a computer spoken-word passage to build tension early in “Pillow Fight.” And sealing the skullet connection are the stomping syncopated grooves featured on the head-bobbing refrain of “Lobster Beaujolais.” Finessing moments, like the noisy guitar outro of “Lord Dranula” or the hazy droning intro of “Climbing Tibetan Mountains to Learn the Secrets of the Mind”reminiscent of Tranzat’s own space-fueled earlier worksremind us that these weirdos indeed have an identity separate from their influences.

When Tranzat focuses on building solid musical motifs, they pop like a green romesco sauce on a white plate. In between the sketch comedy of the absurd anecdotal narratives, Ouh La La manages to still do serious well. The intentionally off-count start of “Mr. Awesome” both brings a big, dumb grin to my face and calls focus to their primary motif, a sullen, Seal-like2 melody. Reappearing with the intro of “Morning Glories,” this melancholy passage morphs into more troubled barks and howls. And finally, with the closing track “Global Warming,” which is intertwined with sections from Charlie Chaplin’s famous The Great Dictator, this sorrowful arch reaches a breaking point, with the once tragic theme returning triumphantly as a rescue from the chaos.

Ouh La La is full of passion and promise. The development of pensive themes amongst the other seemingly surreal scenarios offers an insight to the abject oddness of what everyday life has become (or always was for that matter). Somewhere trapped in the sunshine aesthetic of this album is a soul who feels lost, unheard, and unsettled. Tranzat might now be three albums into their career, but they’re just scratching the surface of what they have to offer. Yes, this album is quite ambitious. Yes, this album is a tad long. But yes, this album is definitely worth some spins, and Tranzat will be a band that I look for in the future.


Rating: 3.0/5.0
DR: 6 | Format Reviewed: 256 kbps mp3
Label: Klonosphere Records
Websites: tranzat.bandcamp.com | facebook.com/tranzatmusic
Releases Worldwide: April 1st, 2022

Show 2 footnotes

  1. I’m not a trekkie, but I’ll be damned if this poster isn’t beautiful.
  2. Yes, that Seal.
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