Time and time again we’ve seen bands with an interesting or mysterious background help bring them to fame (The Weeknd or WU LYF come to mind, for example), but, really, this is a music business, and the music should really do most of the talking. French Wives hail from Glasgow, Scotland and wish they had an interesting back-story as to how the band formed. Instead, they’ve got some great tunes to serve as their introduction.
The five members of the Scottish band (Siobhan Anderson on violin/vocals, Christ Barclay on bass/vocals, Stuart Dougan on vocals/guitar, Scott Macpherson on guitar/vocals and Jonny Smith on drums) met through ads and mutual connections and, despite doubts as to whether there different musical styles would mesh, began making music a couple of years ago.
As the band themselves say, they have no intent in being obscure for the sake of being cool, and strive to make non-generic pop music instead, an unmistakable trait of “Numbers”. The song is the first single from their debut album, “Dream of the Inbetween”, which is due out later this year, and serves as a perfect introduction to what French Wives hope to achieve with their music.
Drums are met with guitars, strings and a light synth line, slowly building until the vocals come in, when these mimic the phrasing of the vocal melody, creating great dynamism. And, of course, like with all good pop music, there’s the big, sing-along chorus. Towards the end of the track there’s a change of pace, which, although it adds a new musical direction, leads to a bit of an awkward ending. Lyrically, the song doesn’t disappoint, with commentary on the “numbers game” that one-night stands become (I’m awful with interpretations though, so don’t take my word for it).
“Halloween” is an older song of the band, and presents a different side to the Scottish five-piece. The track starts slowly, with just a guitar and tender vocals, slowly adding strings, a bass line and more instrumentation until the chorus hits. The song carries the momentum until a gentle breakdown with multiple voices and what seems to be a xylophone, before the guitars kick in again and carry the tune to the end. It’s a lovelorn song, and the band executes it incredibly well.
French Wives have big plans for this year, with the aforementioned debut album and their first Stateside gigs at South By Southwest. If a mix of Belle and Sebastian and Arcade Fire sounds like a good one to you, I’d stay very tuned to what they have a store.