FRENCH KICKS at the Pike Room

THURSDAY SEPTEMBER 18, 2008
doors at 8PM
tickets: $10 (buy tickets)

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With catchy choruses, assured self-production, and lyrics that lean on nobody's pen, FRENCH KICKS are one of the best indie rock bands of the modern day. For a former garage band, French Kicks have gone remarkably ethereal on their new offering, and it suits them: The New York quartet seems poised for a breakthrough with their latest. From Swimming's opening moments, you know something new is up. Over guitar licks recalling R.E.M.'s "Finest Worksong," drums evocative of U2's "Sunday Bloody Sunday," and harmonies straight from the Beatles' "Rain," "Abandon" spins a gorgeous tune of loss and anomie: "I'm wishing you well/From so far behind/The things you could tell/If you could read this broken mind," sings frontman Nick Stumpf, establishing the record's beautifully bereft tone. Nearly every song has that Trojan Horse seduction: "New Man" starts with droning guitars, like a lost Joy Division track, but his punkish Paul McCartney voice is light years away from Ian Curtis's hopeless baritone; Stumpf can achieve melancholy without stooping to pill-swallowing melodrama.

 

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