Paris is beloved around the world for a lot of things, but its hard rock scene is not one of those things. Sure, Pitchfork, Lollapalooza, and other major festivals bring bands to Paris, but where are all the homegrown half-stack rockers? A noisy outlier in a sea of pop and jazz, ONLAP has somehow managed to build itself a huge fan base over 13 years, two albums, and tons of singles. Their outsider status is just one reason to root for this scrappy ’90s and ’00s-influenced five-piece. The other, of course, is their music: their cathartic, wall-of-sound singles have pulled more than 25 million Spotify streams, and their latest, the incendiary “Miracle,” is only going to add more bodies to that pile. They make take-no-prisoners music loaded with hooks and heaviness, carrying the torch laid down by American bands like Story of the Year, Breaking Benjamin, or early, still-hungry Foo Fighters.
“Miracle” is a top-notch, shout-along blast of hard rock that never lets up once it kicks in. Guitarists Pierre and Flo push their amps to the breaking point, with razor-edge start-stop riffs and churning choruses. A bedrock of synth lies below the surface, like the song’s controlled rage, a rage put into words by frontman Guillaume, who can leap from a snarl to a primal howl from one word to the next. Franck and Andrea’s bass and drums lay down an airtight rhythm like a well-oiled machine with a furiously beating heart. Guillaume throws some classic punk whoa-oh-ohs in the song for good measure, because this is, after all, a punk song. The epic choruses chant, “The future is ours, we run out of time / it’s just a dream that turns into a nightmare / The future is now, what’s been done so far?”. Their rallying cry is deafening.
Look around: revolution is everywhere. No matter what side you’re on, what cause you rally behind, or what group you’ve thrown in with, you are hoping for a miracle. Our lone protagonist wanders a stark, impassive city. Skyscrapers, fortresses of the wealthy and powerful, surround and tower over him. He hands out flyers and scrawls cardboard posters emblazoned with a demand that millions around the world, throughout human history have cried, fought, and died for: We need a miracle. He soon takes up a red flare, holding it high above his head, inviting others to join him in his fight. That flare illuminates most of the performance, which captures the raw energy that can only be created by five compatriots, four chords, and one important thing to say. These days, it doesn’t matter where you are or where you’re from, change is at your doorstep. Are you going to go along for the rife, or you gonna take the wheel? Give “Miracle” a few more listens before you answer that.