The French were a band from England (um... where else?) in the early 80s who released a couple 7”s on their own label and then disappeared. Like many bands at the time they were a post punk band featuring angular guitars and stabs of synths and plucky basslines and even the occasional sax. While it’s not the most original style, it’s the type of sound that I love, and I’m willing to bet that many of you appreciate it as well. It’s always nice to unearth another nugget of post-punk gold.
Their first 7” features a cover of Kraftwerk’s “The Model”. It’s a bit of an odd choice – the song had come out only a few years prior – but they actually make it sound pretty great. In fact, it’s one of the best covers that I’ve heard in a long time, as it sounds very different from the original but still captures a raw urgency that seems to be lacking from the many rote covers that abound. The song is built upon a tinny syn-drum and slices of guitar and bass. The strangest part of the song are the synths that randomly are thrown on top of the entire affair – they are loud, haphazard, and sound almost exactly like the sound Pac-Man makes when he’s caught by a ghost.
The band’s other songs are originals. Set Me On Fire is a great (if thin-sounding) track with simplistic synth pulses and flourishes of sax on top of great guitar lines and vocals. It’s certainly a favorite in the house of Goutroy.
I’ve also included the A-side of their second single, The River Flows East. It’s also a pretty good song, trading in the angular and arty sound for a more groove-oriented sound in the style of bands like APB. Unfortunately my copy is currently in storage and I don’t have a rip of the B side, but from what I remember it sucked. So I’m sparing you a song that you’d just end up deleting anyway.