The record’s insert includes a pic of Gustave Courbet’s “A Burial at Ornans.” “Burial” is a huge (approx. 10’ x 22’) painting of a provincial French funeral in the mid-nineteenth century. Centered in the painting’s foreground is the burial plot, which suggests to its observers that the plot is theirs, given the plot’s size and placement. It is one of many moments of genius in Courbet’s impressive oeuvre; here, however, it is shrunken down, leaving only a glimpse of its brilliance. The painting is fitting with Institut’s attitude, as it is an unflattering and unforgiving representation, which has obvious preoccupation with the certainty of one’s own death. But like the insert, Insitut is serviceable, and the band doesn’t really do anything but pay homage to its forbearers’ (see, e.g., Wire and The Fall) moments of genius in a shrunken down manner. The two songs that fill out the front are fast, bouncy post-punk with a doomed-to-live mindset. The backside takes a little risk, hinting at an ability and desire to experiment, with the background chanting and a death rock dirge, but Institut plays it pretty straight for post-punk, while retaining the existential crisis touched upon on the front.
–Vincent (Katorga Works)