French Kicks : Swimming

<img src="" alt=" " />The French Kicks dive into an even higher atmosphere on their latest, <i>Swimming</i>. ...
7.1 Vagrant

  After shifting members and duties around in the earlier part of this decade, the New York-based act has managed to keep everything the same since their last record, 2006’s Two Thousand, and their high, airy sound it pretty similar on Swimming, going perhaps even a bit higher this time.  While there’s no real ‘stand-out’ track on this record, it creates a lovely, enchanting backdrop.

Swimming is much more of a ‘mood’ album, more akin in feel to some electronica than to indie-rock.  From the nice swishing high hat of opener “Abandon” to the choral sounds of finisher “This Could Go Wrong”, tracks blend into and out of one another.  Guitarist John Wise puts his fingers on the higher strings, while drummer-turned-singer Nick Stampf keeps his vocals in the castrati range.  In general, however, Wise does a better job than Stampf – the neat background guitar rhythm of “New Man” is hurt by Stampf’s too weird vocals, and they begin to grate on “Atlanta”.

There are a few differences amid the waves, including the ‘empty room echo’ on the winning “Carried Away”, or the sixties sad soul effect leavened into “Said So What”.  There’s a bit of a relaxed indietronic effect on “All Our Weekends”, while the preceding “The Way You Arrive” sees a little more haunt amid the brightness, and an interesting alt-road guitar.  Swimming could use more of this variety – “Wrong” stays rather boring.

If one looks too deep, Swimming could seem a little shallow, the twinkling water the same from end to end.  But if you just lie back and enjoy breeze, one can just float along with the French Kicks.

MP3 Stream: "The Way You Arrive"

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