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France's Syndrome 81 started gaining momentum in the Oi scene with their 2013 demo tape, drawing comparisons to the plethora of great bands that defined the French Oi sound of the 1980s with a heavy stomp culled from classic USHC. The band has progressed since then, dropping a split with Litovsk and submitting a track to a compilation with their French brethren Rixe, Outreau, and Traitre. ‘Desert Urbain’ is Syndrome 81’s first fully-realized release since that first 2013 demo. The sound is more diverse but also more defined, having filed off some of the American influences and moved in a darker, distinctly French direction that is both melancholy and anthemic, with lyrics being influenced by growing up in Brest, France.
Brest was the base of the French Navy in the 1600s, and the city’s prime location as a military outpost continued into the 20th century when the German’s occupation turned the city into a U-Boat base. After the Allies invaded France, a fierce battle took place in Brest that almost completely destroyed their city, leaving only a few relics of its storied past. The city was hastily rebuilt after the war in a hyper-modern and utilitarian style that lent very little to its classic architectural aesthetic. Growing up in Brest is to be torn between two distinct worlds, one in which you can walk through the past and one in which your history has been stolen from you.
The band comes from this dark place and write songs about their personal struggles growing up and growing old. These are songs about watching your friends lose sight and move on while you question why you are still here, haunted by your past and having to look your former self in the eye while you apologize for who you’ve become. These are songs about trudging through a desert you built yourself.