Sounds Like: If the Cocteau Twins discovered a long-lost triplet who had slugged it out in space-pop groups and post-rock bands.
For Fans Of: Slowdive, Mogwai, the adjective "ethereal"
Why You Should Pay Attention: Literally "post-metal," this Parisian duo traded in the leather gauntlets and "corpse paint" they wore in their halcyon days as teenaged black-metal hellions for a dream-pop second act with sweaters and clear complexions. The eight flickering, shimmery tracks on the group's fourth and latest, Shelter, have more in common genetically with Sigur Rós than Satyricon. Moody and serene, the album plays like metal in photo negative: The guitar lines jangle and reverberate, the drums wash in and out, and frontman Neige sings in a way that seems absolument devoid of machismo. Their transformation was convincing enough they were able to get Sigur Rós buddy Birgir Jón Birgisson to produce and dream-pop O.G. Neil Halstead of Slowdive to sing on the appropriately Slowdive-y "Away."
They Say: "I felt a bit bored about all this metal stuff from some years ago," says Neige. "A lot of old fans are completely lost. They don't understand why a band that could be metal before would change to something else. People think they know better than me what Alcest is. It's crazy.
"In Australia, we had a mosh in the audience, which was quite funny. This music is very, very calm and very serene and there was almost a fight in the audience. It's so funny when you play this very dreamy and ethereal music and you see guys moshing. It's completely weird."
Hear for Yourself: The intoxicating, splendiferous, Homeric 10-minute album closer "Délivrance":
by Kory Grow