Brooklyn local Autre Ne Veut is staking his claim as R&B's next morbid, art-damaged sensation, yet live, his performance has more in common with Pissed Jeans, Crucifucks and other such misanthropic punks than, say, Frank Ocean. And that has less to do with his music — which blends straight-up Justin Timberlake vocals with primal, disturbed pop — than it does with Autre Ne Veut's spotlight-commanding stage presence.
Because he, like Pissed Jeans leader Matt Korvette, has a snotty, antisocial aura, equal parts spoiled child and serial killer. But Autre Ne Veut, backed by a live drummer and several stand-around band members, adds another quality in the mix: His music is repulsively sexy, and played at volumes louder than most R&B acts would dare. It is, in fact, the musical sentiment echoed by his NSFW cover art for last year's Body EP.
But Autre Ne Veut's standout quality is that his songs feel like a genuine, if somewhat sordid, emotional release. He writhes on the ground, bounds across the stage and, at times, seems to ignore the crowd's presence entirely. And it's delivered with such intensity — and primal energy — that it feels nearly autistic. It was, in a sense, muckraking punk rock delivered with R&B smoothness, a unique blend that stuck with the crowd long after this set concluded.