Baton Rouge – Totem

Artist: Baton Rouge

Title: Totem

Release: LP / CDDigital

Year: 2014

Label: Purepainsugar, Adagio830, Bakery Outlet, Long Legs Long Arms

Many people still tend to discard the more melodic side of screamo but thankfully that doesn’t stop bands like Baton Rouge and Sed Non Satiata from writing awesome albums in that very vein. This said I’ve been hooked to Sed Non Satiata’s Mappō for months and now I have Totem here to steal all my time. I did enjoy its predecessor and Baton Rouge debut Fragments D’eux Memes a lot when it came out, but the new one I like even more. It sounds more considered and still very easy to get into, which is not weird in any way, especially having in mind how catchy this album actually is. I guess if you give it a chance.

Totem is complex and progressive, but definitely nothing like a sterile work of art made by and for mathematicians. Au contraire, the album is super passionate and gets under you skin with full force, as soon as you let it. It took about 2 years for Baton Rouge to write it so it’s definitely a more mature work. And I guess this maturity is not a surprise, Baton Rouge are no longer that new project, where the Daïtro / 12xu people are playing, but a band with over 3 years of history and tens of show all around. And yes, you can hear that.

Totem is super atmospheric and spacey. With emotional and personal vocals, and pieces structured around catchy, yet intelligently written melodic lines. The instrumentals on this one take more time to develop, but it’s still sufficient to leave you eager and puzzled to follow each and every direction the music may follow next. With almost Slint-ish build ups on the verge of static, effected guitars reaching even psychedelic and noise-rock outbursts (check out Hypn-O-Sonic) I gotta admit Baton Rouge have jumped quite over the fence of screamo with this one, which I find great.

It’s awesome to hear music made so specific, while in the same time preserving its essence, and the essence of the genre it represents at max. What else? The artwork is crazy. Check out Claire Duport, she’s quite outside any box as well.

Angel S.

Freelance journalist and full-time copywriter from hell. Playing ambient & drone music as Mytrip, teaching Sound Art, booking shows with For The Kids & Amek Collective. Always in for a cup of coffee.