"Life As It Should Be is the most coherent,listenable and approachable instrumental effort I've heard in a while, especially within the indie rock genre. The ambiance has something of a melancholy vibe- a likely soundtrack to the band name translation- but at the same time you may find yourself smiling and laughing at how sharply they capture and instrumental theme while always injecting the subtle nuances that are unmistakably La Fin du Monde. In many tracks, especially the roller coaster, "We Don't Necessarily Like Paul," the sound gives the impression of a beautifully arranged musical schizophrenia- you'll just have to hear it to believe it. The guitar work may not seem to vary or shine to the degree of the percussion, but this can be misleading. The tunes from Life..., like their previous efforts, converse with loud, crafty and original sounds, but they are never overdone; all of the string parts are arranged so as to top off their musicianship while steering clear of excessiveness and redundancy. Unlike their previous efforts, however, Life As It Should Be has been granted the sharp, immaculate recording that the tracks deserve. Hats off the everyone at Prairie Sun who made it possible to achieve the balance of La Fin du Monde's live energy and their thoughtfulness as musicians. Sincerely, bravo."
-Jeremy Gerrard, The Synthesis
"Mike Crew and Josh Kinsey (bass), Dan Elsen (drums) and Chris Roberts (guitar) are supplemented by string arrangements in this, La fin du Monde’s debut full album (there was an e.p. in 2005). In keeping with a band which has its roots in 2003 and 4 years experience of writing and playing adventurous instrumental postrock/progressive music, this album has a professional ‘finished’ feel to it.
Stylistically, bands such as Tortoise, the Red Sparowes or Mogwai would be good comparators for the atmospheric, slow building, repetitive riff-based compositions which appear here. However where they depart from that style is their ability to break out regularly from the indie riff pattern to create added textures, polyrhythms and highlights which take the music in a number of other interesting directions.
Moving almost imperceptibly from track to track, the listener is taken on a voyage of undulating, guitar driven sequences, interspersed with sideways development within the framework of the songs and atmospheric layers of sound. Occasional hints of King Crimson can be found, especially in the more aggressive works such as “Castle Greyskull”. We aren’t hit with ambitious solos or symphonic highlights but a steady building and dismantling of structure with good hooks and memorable, mesmeric arrangements.
In the aptly named studio, The Hatchery, the band have captured a fair live version of their approach on track 6. A good debut from a band with a modern approach and a lot of promise."
"La Fin Du Monde, a five piece instrumental rock “collective” from Chico California, are a muscular musical outfit. Their tight, rhythmic stylings make for an entertaining listen on a recording that successfully captures the band’s high energy levels and dynamic elasticity. Clocking in at just over an hour, Life as It Should Be is a consistently commendable take on guitar-based instrumental post-rock, bringing great focus to energy in rhythm, utilization of alternate meters, a shifting of the on- and off-beats, and dynamic changes in rhythmic ostinatos.
One of the band’s defining traits is its drum-driven sound. Like Kentucky-based contemporaries Foxhole, La Fin Du Monde gains a significant advantage over its peers with this approach by appropriating some elements of more conventional post-rock into a context where a greater sense of movement and progression is promoted by the group’s rhythmic base. This overcomes an often cited issue with the post-rock sound – its inability to progress from stagnate repetition (one central criticism of the widely-derided City of Echoes album by Pelican). The spectacular drumming of Dan Elsen provides both a strongly guiding and easily malleable base for the similarly acrobatic guitar, bass, and keyboard above it.
This dynamic is best demonstrated in the fourth and fifth tracks, “The Foolish Fire” and “Nascar Santa Claus,” where the relatively melancholy mood of the rest of the album is set aside for a considerably jubilant exploration of more uplifting chordal progressions and upbeat tempo and occasionally groovy alternate meters, such as a very fun 11/8 in “The Foolish Fire.” This allows for a greater presentation of the instrumental talents of the band, particularly its drummer. All the while, each element interacts with each other quite democratically; certain layers double with each other, contributing lines that fit like a musical jigsaw alongside corresponding parts. The use of more minimalistic progression in some central sections, such as in “Nascar Santa Claus,” demonstrate the band’s talent with slow buildups of texture and some techniques more commonly associated with math rock, retaining the irresistable energy that gives this band its edge.
Part of the best elements in these particular songs is their ability to, even in the security of the beat, convey a profound sense of urgency and unsettledness, promoted by the fluidity of guitar and bass lines and the ever-evolving drum patterns. There is a perception reflected that something is at stake -- that there is motivation for such nervous energy. This is tempered and harnessed by the band, maximizing the effectiveness and poignancy of their delivery, even in quieter sections.
Other efforts, however, see the band settle into a groove that perhaps detracts from the ability for the band to engage a listener as effectively, especially when put alongside more physical and dynamic songs. The opener is probably the best example of this, with a more conventional post-metal approach adopted that occasionally reaches a plateau, and in places it seems structurally lacking and less able to sustain interest over its full nine minutes.
However, this detracts little from the overall impressiveness of the album. Even through the considerable length of most songs, the band mostly retains its energy with consistency, acrobatic playing from all sections of the band flying off in all directions, but brought into neat order by a superb drummer. Life As It Should Be is both a musically clever and uplifting experience, well-compiled evidence that La Fin Du Monde can keep up with and has the potential to surpass the most recognized names in American instrumental rock."
- Marcus Whale/thesilentballet.com