Martin Dupont
Credit: Minimal Wave

Martin Dupont was one of the most enigmatic and exhilarating coldwave bands of the 1980s. The group was founded in 1980 in Marseille, France, by songwriter and bassist Alain Seghir, who wanted to explore new wave after spending time in rock and jazz bands. Over the next few years he linked up with several musically adventurous artists, including Brigitte Balian, Beverley Jane Crew, and Catherine Loy, to create sprawling tracks suffused with a haunted, kinetic energy. Martin Dupont’s 1984 debut album, Just Because (Facteurs d’Ambiance), showcases their frenetic songwriting. Synth melodies weave dizzyingly in and out of “Sticks in My Brain” as band members trade off vocal lines stacked with bratty yelps and paranoid warbles. On tracks such as “Willy Nilly,” they push their experiments even further, manipulating vocals to the point of cartoonish absurdity. 

The band refined their approach on their next two albums, 1985’s Sleep Is a Luxury and 1987’s Hot Paradox. The Sleep song “I Met the Beast” melds needling guitars and eerie synth melodies in a consummate gothic reverie. On “My Analyst Assez” from Hot Paradox, the band layer cryptic, distorted synths and rupture them with Crew’s clarinet; on “He Saw the Light” they deliver warped, all-consuming freestyle.

Martin Dupont disbanded in the late 80s, but they re-formed last year and began playing shows again in early 2023. On their new comeback album, Kintsugi (Minimal Wave), they reconstruct songs from throughout their discography. Inspired by the titular art form—the Japanese practice of repairing broken pottery with lacquer mixed with metal dust—the band brought their classic works into a new era by linking with Sandy Casado and Thierry Sintoni, both of French goth trio Rise and Fall of a Decade. That reinvention is clear from opener “Bent at the Window,” which transforms the homespun original into a massive track with choral vocals and string arrangements. This month Martin Dupont make their first U.S. tour with a fleshed-out lineup that includes Casado, Sintoni, and French musician Ollivier Leroy. Their stop at Metro will allow generations of fans to experience their coldwave brilliance firsthand.

Martin Dupont Beau Wanzer and Justin Carver open. Thu 5/25, 8 PM, Metro, 3730 N. Clark, $26, $21 in advance, 18+