The French Kicks aren’t as trendy as their name sounds. Honest and vulnerable, the group’s latest effort, The Trial of the Century, is filled with luscious melodies and catchy beats that will have indie rockers fidgeting in their seats.
Echoing sentiments of Death Cab for Cutie with some Erasure beats and faux-soul vocals on the jumpy “One More Time,” the band drifts from whimsical head bopping to the more hard-to-get-through struggle of “The Falls,” tearing at your heart like Joy Division and Interpol’s darkest moments.
Like a nervous breakdown that’s trying to reign in all the emotion by furiously dancing instead of falling part, French Kicks manage to sound miserable and upbeat at the same time. Ian Curtis croons, “There’s a taste in my mouth / As desperation takes hold” (“Love Will Tear Us Apart”), and Nick Stumpf sings, “In the back of my mind babe / Don’t I know that it’s over” (“The Falls”). The danceable rhythms clashing with pained vocals makes the song almost too much to bear.
With the group waxing regretful in the calm, bittersweet sorrow of the title track, and likewise with the eerie abandoned-80s-disco beats of “Oh Fine,” the album stays within the group’s genre while simultaneously exploring myriad emotions. Dance, cry, enjoy.