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French Kicks


What? Emerging atop New York City’s slowly cresting, post-millennial post-punk wave with 2002’s One Time Bells, French Kicks soon underwent a sonic reinvention as purveyors of smooth, glossy art-pop, jumping out with the splendid departure of 2006’s Two Thousand. And their latest, Swimming, out tomorrow via Vagrant, continues the outfit’s newfound knack for harmonious sophista-pop. Like its predecessor, the new set relies on glimmering guitars, floating keys, and vocal harmonies aplenty, but, thankfully, never looses sight of the band’s original sound, flaunting punk drum beats and manic guitar work. Check out Swimming opener “Abandon” for proof.

Who? Brothers Nick Stumpf (keys, guitars, vocals) and Lawrence Stumpf (bass), plus Josh Wise (vocals, guitars) and Aaron Thurston (drums). Originally, Nick manned both singing and drumming duties, but has left the sticks to Thurston (added to the lineup before Two Thousand) to shine as a frontman.

Fun Fact: In an attempt to capture the sound “of friends playing together in a relaxed way,” the French Kicks used many first or second takes on the final, master version of Swimming. “[We] tried to preserve a sense of immediacy and discovery that comes from putting things down before you really have a chance to think too hard,” said guitarist/vocalist Josh Wise.

Now Hear This: “Abandon” (DOWNLOAD MP3)