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Here Come The Drums! << Prev   Next >>
Correspondent Mister M gives us a sneak peek of Elephant Uproar, the latest from Frenchy and the Pu...
By Mister M on Mar 12 2013 Category:Media, Music

 

When I first saw Frenchy and the Punk, I asked them which CD I should buy. I wanted one that might spotlight the drumming that they did onstage. The upcoming Elephant Uproar goes a bit further and presents a practically all-instrumental album. It strips them down to their essential Frenchiness and  Punkery.

Their website describes the opener “Nevermore the Matador” as “Spanish flavored.” It’s the one song that has the closest thing to lyrics, and they’re “I love you” in French. If you’re going to whittle a song down to basics, those are pretty much the essential ones that you need. “Isis Rising” could be called “Isis Rousing.”  It’s full of vigor! These first couple songs are followed by the percussion breakdowns of “Carnival,” “Rock Paper Scissors,” “Elephant Uproar” and “Orient Express.” Scott the Punk’s guitar comes back in “Dust and Sand in the Caravan,” with a melody that borrows from Mendelssohn. “Blacksmith” and “The Chase” return to the percussion workouts. “The Celtic Sprite” romps through Fairyland and the album wraps up with the exotically flavored “Specter of the Forest and Sea.” “Dust and Sand in the Caravan” and “the Celtic Sprite” are remakes from At the Carnivale Eclectique. “Carnival,” “Blacksmith” and “The Chase” had been on their Live at Bube’s Brewery! DVD.

If it seems that I have aggregated the percussion pieces unfairly, it’s because I have. There is no excuse except for my ignorance. I lack the technical musical vocabulary to describe them. They’re like listening to math puzzles, but without the pesky numbers. It’s like each song has an underlying formula that ties it together. You don’t need to have the formula written down in order to enjoy it. Part of the fun is hearing how it all fits together.

The key element for the percussion is precision. The duo synchronizes in the drumming workouts. They have composed their formulas and implement them for our edification. It’s not as if they went into the studio and hit the record button during a particularly hot jam session. They knew what they were doing with the road-tested percussive tunes.

As songwriters, they have taken tunes and whittled them down to the basic elements of what could be a song. Even the tracks that feature guitar keep a minimal approach. I don’t mean this in Steve Reich or Philip Glass sense. That school often repeats its musical motifs with additive variations. Elephant Uproar keeps things to the point. When you have two people with two drum kits onstage, there isn’t anything that they would need to add.

Elephant Uproar will be available from www.frenchyandthepunk.com on March 26.

Mr. M plays theremin and other oddball musical devices in the old-timey mad scientist band The White City Rippers and twangs washtub bass in the steampunk Britney Spears tribute band Spears and Gears. He also spins the amber oldies with the Lords & Ladies DJ crew.

 

 

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