French for Rabbits: Spirits (Lefse)

 |   |  1 min read

French for Rabbits: Lean
French for Rabbits: Spirits (Lefse)

This dreamscape debut album opens with such an elegantly simple guitar and piano part that it's hard not to be quickly seduced, and when vocalist Brooke Singer wafts in there is a lovely weightlessness at work above the undercurrents of drums and cymbal splashes. It sounds tidal and elemental.

From their homebase at Waikuku Beach in New Zealand's South Island the duo of Singer and John Fitzgerald (Christchurch by way of Wellington) aren't so much shoegaze as folksy skygaze, and references to windswept beaches and breeze-blown melodies are not out of order.

Understatement and subtle connections with dreamy folkadelica are their forte and while Singer has a high and airy voice she eschews that little-girl style so prevalent among vocalists in this genre (even on the delightfully woozy Nursery Rhyme), and lyrically these are serious songs about adult relationships and life.

Alongside Singer's dreamy but distinctive voice the subtle dynamics of these song and the soft weave of electric guitar and spare percussion are beautifully empathetic. Take the vocals out and these songs would stand as lovely, almost ambient instrumentals.

The Other Side -- "they're all running to the beach to wash their bodies/minds clean" -- has an ethereal holiness about it, an almost hymnal quality in the stacked up vocals above the beautifully rounded guitar figures.

The final song Seafarer -- "you sleep tonight beneath the waves" -- almost sounds recorded under water as tides of sonic currents move gently about.

Although it would be easy to single out a few songs for attention -- the previously released Goat another contender -- but this, despite some songs having appeared on EP already, is such a coherent, delicately integrated and self-contained album it needs to be heard in its entirety.

Highly recommended. 

French for Rabbits answer the Famous Elsewhere Questionnaire here

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Music articles index

Gin: Extended Play (Island/Universal)

Gin: Extended Play (Island/Universal)

The other night we were flicking across the music channels and did that rare thing, paused for more than five seconds because there was a remarkable voice about which I said, "Wow, I'd like to... > Read more

Savages: Adore Life (Matador)

Savages: Adore Life (Matador)

At this distance it was easy to be sceptical about the British music press embracing Savages and their album-cum-manifesto Silence Yourself three years ago. The all-women quartet —... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

THE BARGAIN BUY: The Specials; The Specials and More Specials

THE BARGAIN BUY: The Specials; The Specials and More Specials

What the most recent waves of ska revivalist don't quite get is, aside from the terrific beat, their mentor bands from the UK like the Specials and the Beat in the late Seventies/early Eighties... > Read more

GUEST WRITER VIKY GARDEN is seduced by the Impressionism, again

GUEST WRITER VIKY GARDEN is seduced by the Impressionism, again

To be honest, I was very sceptical about the forthcoming documentary The Impressionists (Sky Arts Channel, Thur April 19, 8.30) I mean, the Impressionists – what don’t we already... > Read more