Album Reviews

The French – Local Information

UK release date: 11 August 2003


The French is the name of the new band formed by ex-Hefner boys Darren Haymen and John Morrison, and this, Local Information is their first album released on the Too Pure label.

The opening line “he wore a cotton shirt by Ben Sherman and underpants by Calvin Klein” neatly sums up this LP, which is one of uncomplicated electronic vignettes and amusing social commentary lyrics.

“She dreams of Staten Island, she never dreams of Walthamstow” opens The Wu-Tang Clan and speaks of a woman lost but hopeful in London. It’s a pleasant tune, being catchy in a simplistic way. However, the sparcity of the simple electronica is just that, sparse and therefore lacking depth.

When She Leaves Me begins in a very pretty fashion with panned synths calling me into my headphones. As it sings of the normality of the end of a relationship and the everyday mundane-ness of heartache, the melancholia is almost beautiful in its pauses. It asserts that everyday occurrences are very painful, but are indeed, the norm.

The Pines was debuted on the last Hefner tour and starts off like a stripped down Beach Boys. It does actually sounds like it might be better played solo rather than with a band. However, its simplicity can’t make up for its dullness, for this is not an interesting song. There’s no jolt, it just meanders along, has a break for chorus, and returns to meandering.

This LP sounds like it’s been written in a day and recorded in a bedroom in East London, as indeed, many are, but never see light of day. Too Pure have taken an interesting risk with The French. This is never going to appeal to the masses or even the minority.

Its low-fi quality and unwillingness to fit into a mould are to be admired though. In that Pulp-like ‘quirky poems written by bedroom geeks’ way, it interests. This LP is about words though, not music. It almost sounds like lyrical poetry, not a collection of songs. Indeed, the lyrics are interesting in their humourous descriptions of London life. Unfortunately, the music is not.


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