Before Eat Your Makeup, before Eyaculacion Post-Mortem, before Cinema Strange, in the beginning, there was Neva. The band formed in Saint-Quentin, north of France, at the very start of the 1980’s, with the scary eccentric character impersonated by Jacquy Bitch as lead singer. They launched the Batcave / Deathrock sound in France, and remain a cult band and a great influence on the scene thanks to their bursting creativity and legendary theatrical shows. Fausse Conscience is their last album, released on cassette tape in 1989, and re-issued in 1999 on CD. As a witness of its time, it probably marks the end of an era: shortly after that Neva would disband and Jacquy Bitch would begin a solo career, and the 90’s would see the end of the first wave of Gothic Rock.
Synths, and a lot of them. From the first second of “Venise” and its delicate intro until the last notes of the last song, Fausse Conscience is full of synths. This is a key aspect of Neva’s music. The keyboards take a huge place and sometimes seem to be used as a second voice: in the reggae/dub UFO “Le Clown”, Jacquy’s vocals and the synth melody really sound like a duet. This extensive use remind me of The Stranglers and their psychedelic keyboards on Punk music, and also of The Sound. The vocals are amazing: they bring a huge amount of drama. Neva is probably one the bands that define best what Batcave means, and although today the drum machine appear very basic and dated, it’s the real 80’s sound and I love it!
All songs on this album are amazing. The perfect soundtrack to your worst nightmares, “Irradié” seems to be sung by a zombie goblin wandering in dark damp underground caves. Very scary and mean, delightful! “Vision” has an extra simple synth melody, drum machine is about to explode, it’s Deathrock at its best. The instrumental “Outrage” brings all the best of the 80’s spirit. It’s a track closer to Cold Wave and even New Wave with more romantic synths despite its very punchy intro. It’s dark, definitely dark, ok, but in comparison with the rest of the album, it looks like a happy happy track. The guitar gimmick in the first minute and a half of “Tue-les” ( in English: Kill them) is irresistible. The song then moves to an apocalyptic drum and snarling guitar, and a very punk invitation to kill your entire family and your neighbours. “Erreur de Suicide” has Coldwave features with predominant synths on metronomic drum machine, and a strong feeling of desperation. “Personne” is not very original but nevertheless absolutely catchy and effective. The synths lead the listener to the vampire’s vault, drums are so frantic they’re close to syncope, and the vocals are pure Greek Tragedy. The intensity rises by the last third of the song with the nervous guitars! Maybe it’s cliché but fuck who cares when it’s so good. Since then, this type of song has been copied many many times…
Neva were contemporary of Alien Sex Fiend and Virgin Prunes, and the influence of these bands can be heard all through the album. With lots of creepy synth, a fresh punk spirit, vampires and ghouls, drama and more drama, tons of ideas and good music: Fausse Conscience is a must-have album. I got my copy!► by Guillaume Renard.
Neva – Fausse Conscience (1999)