June 29, 2008

French Kicks / Swimming

Artist - French Kicks

Title - Swimming
Hometown - NYC
Label - Vagrant
Street Date - Out Now

RIYL - Mark Robinson fanning you with Creation Records LPs
The Hits - Abandon, Over the World, Carried Away, New Man, Love In Ruins, Sex Tourists, This Could Go Wrong
Richter Magnitude Rating Scale - Strong

This is the best record Teenbeat never released. This is what I wish Vampire Weekend actually sounded like. This is my soothing happy place when the rest of my world (AKA Richmond) is a gross sticky humid oven-like mess. Try to imagine The Doves splashing in puddles.

Many reviews blame Swimming for being too subtle, too "pastel" in its beauty, but I love the fact that there is nothing obvious screaming out at you between the verse and chorus. I am of the mindset that you don't have to be beaten upside the head with a melody or a hook to make a record work. Rather than following the all too common trend of a band pooping out a few obvious hits and then wasting every one's time with some filler spread out over the the rest of the release, French Kicks have opted for consistency rather than a punch and get out.

Long time fans of the group will not be dishing out smarmy elitist frowns because they feel the band was once poised to be the next IT band and somehow they blew it. (the press however seem to feel otherwise) The French Kicks may not have reached the ultimate point of hipsterdom but not every band needs to hit that sweet spot according to the media's eye. The spotlight doesn't make a band good. Most of the time it means one great band had better luck than another great band..or they had a bigger label, or a better publicist hyping the media up. Just ask Tapes 'n Tapes how that early media worship worked out for them in the long run. (imagine the sound of a candle's flame being snuffed out here)

To coin an unoriginal phrase, fame is fleeting. Why not just let a band (French Kicks) be good and remove the expectation that they should have been something bigger and something other. Just enjoy.

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