Montreal's the Kommenden Take Listeners in a Pop Music Time Machine on 'Idle years'

BY Alex HudsonPublished Mar 24, 2021

On Idle years, the debut album from Montreal combo the Kommenden, the band move from Blade Runner-style sci-fi synths to mellow acoustic rock to bouncy piano pop. That's all within the first 90 seconds of opening track "European cowboy," setting the tone for an eclectic album that dips into many styles and does a good job with all of them.

This includes chugging, Cars-style new wave on '80s throwback "Television years," Mac DeMarco-esque wobbliness on the sinisterly smooth "Creeping around your house," and Kinks-indebted pop classicism on "Eat her." Best of all is penultimate cut "Can't tell you," as the group vamp on a sleepy acoustic groove until the whole thing gets sucked into a vortex of daydream synths and cavernous reverb.

The overall effect is of a kosmiche project jamming with a '60s rock band. Frontman Guillaume Etter sings in a mellow, French-inflected croon, his deadpan delivery uniting the songs even when the styles change. Idle years is a fun trip through pop history, delivered by devoted students of the genre.

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