“Never judge a book by its cover.” I’m sure you’ve all heard this phrase countless times and, to some extent, agree with its simple sentiment of searching for true identity behind an outward appearance. However, as New York based avant-R&B artist Autre Ne Veut’s latest EP proves, there are exceptions to every rule. The moist folds of pink flesh adorning Body’s front cover are a perfect embodiment of the music contained within, and any listeners struck by the vulgarity of the photo are likely to react with a similar level of repulsion when listening to this EP.
Opening with a lone undulating synth line, lead single ‘Sweetheart’ starts Body off on a particularly queasy note. Cluttered with cheap sounding keys and an oppressively rasping beat, the song submerges its catchy vocal melody beneath such layers of sticky sleaze that it almost fails to register at all. Sadly, the rest of Body follows suit. With the production throughout this EP, just as on the album artwork, Autre Ne Veut appears to be aiming for an ice-cool seductiveness but instead finds himself falling into crass excess.
What is most disappointing about this record, even for those attracted to the production style, is that Body is completely lacking in substance beneath its surface. Autre Ne Veut’s songwriting throughout the EP is formulaic at best and, at times, downright lazy; that ‘Not The One’ passes by in little over two minutes is no bad thing: its grating pitch shifted vocals refusing to develop at all throughout the song. Any personality that might exist in Autre Ne Veut’s songwriting has been suppressed by his obsession with maintaining his ultra-hip facade, ultimately leaving his music hollow. Released on the much buzzed about Hippos In Tanks label, Body will undoubtedly appeal to the label’s hoards of obsessive followers, but for the rest of us this EP is so devoid of heart, so slathered in sleaze that it is unlikely to connect during its brief twelve minute runtime.