Having played alongside the likes of Juan Waters and Darlia, Leeds band Frenchgirls haven’t as much recorded as you might expect from their success in the north. However, the spring has brought with it their self titled debut EP, a collection of wonderful jangle pop songs merging instrumentation of every sort with extra-terrestrial elements.
Opener ‘Catwork’ is ambitious with its bouncing rhythm, harsh guitars and sharp vocals, but builds on the Django Django-esque percussion of their debut EP ‘JFKEP’ with layer upon layer of cluttered tambourine. Whilst not breaking any experimental boundaries, an introduction of swirling fuzzy pop highlighted by whining synths and smooth sax can’t help but pull you along with it’s groove. This is followed by the electronic sound of ‘Ricochet Ricochet’ lifted by a soft ticking that lasts the entirety of the song. French girls use ‘Ricochet Ricochet’ as a full utilization and display of everything they’ve got – layer upon layer of bass, snoozy synth and cool backing vocals all glide into a jangle dream of a pop song, and of the catchiest nature.
The whirring electronics of Nine Lives are most interesting of the EP, lifted by Metronomy Style synths and soft guitar that builds into an incredibly powerful chorus, however minimal in comparison to the band’s usual sound. The everlasting drone of harsh synths lurks under the simple flat vocals and “eye contact is all I need” pushes a quiet desperation, accompanied by repetitively murmured lyrics “Fading fast. My nine lives. Taking flight”, which connotes a monotonous sinking of thought that is quietly forceful, and not easily forgotten.
‘Slippy’ is a whoozy drift of a song, staggered by noticeably more simple percussion and heavy basslines that are only lifted by warm harmonies in the song’s chorus. It is a song imaginably apt for a bike ride in the warm air, pushing towards the end with harsh slamming of drums before dropping into a synth pop dream unrecognisable from the opening. This tips into the EP’s final track and lead single ‘Treeman On Fire’, punchy with wired up guitars and vocals oozing with honest confidence. As ‘Treeman, why are you afraid of fire?’ is crooned, whilst the meaning is obviously lost on me, the explosion of instrumentation and swirling guitar brings Frenchgirls’ EP to a high interval and end – one that could easily be resumed with a full length release.