Live Review: L’Effondras, Paris, France, Oct. 29, 2021

French trio L’Effondras may not have the ambition to cleanse its listeners, but such sprawling, probing math rock nevertheless purges mental toxins with the smooth efficiency of an Evian enema. Chords stretch without snapping, sequences repeat without hypnotising, and guitars intertwine with the exquisite interplay of Sonic Youth.

The group somehow manages to deliver maximum catharsis from minimal tension.

L’Effondras opened tonight’s show with the slowly driving “The Grinding Wheel,” lead-off hitter from new album Anabasis. The song conveys all that is admirable in proggy post-rock—it’s Tool without the intolerable pomposity, Rodan with rounded edges, Tortoise with the speed of the hare.

Each song, while feathery, weighs heavily in the chest. L’Effondras places the mass of a neutron star gently in the bowl of a spoon. As such, the trio provides what these partisan times demand: muscular riffing for the majority, sonic arabesques for the few.

Most mercifully, the group is all-instrumental. Lyrics would only detract from the therapeutic drone. Yes, tonight’s gig was an evening without words. One’s mental colon is cleaner for it.

Eric Bensel