Indie pop French Cassettes released an anticipated album today, Rolodex (via Tender Loving Empire). This album is so well produced, and it’s clear the band paid close attention to every detail. The songs have immediate hooks, tight harmonies, quadrupling the vocal lead at times, and using delays and reverbs to create a shifting space. Drums have a crunch that gives them a fat and beefy sound, and the bass has a nice fuzz with driving grooves.
This San Fransisco first released both an EP and an LP in 2013, only to put the band aside. In 2018, they released two singles that are on Rolodex, City Kitty, and Sunday Soda, both songs drawing over two million streams on Spotify.
Mackenzie Bunch, lead guitarist, recorded the album, and his understanding of how each element interacts is so evident. His production is phenomenal. There isn’t a weak moment on this 26 minute album. Scott Huerta, vocalist, is a brilliant songwriter. His ability to weave vocal melodies in and out of the guitars and bass is so refreshing.
Looking at the tracks…
It’s not easy to pinpoint the strongest song on the album because each song adds to the album, but my vote is with Santa Cruz Tomorrow. The vocal melodies and harmonies stick, the fuzzy and clean guitars play so well with the bass lines, while the drums carry a steady groove.
“Why do you keep waking up to me? And why do you need to make it up to me?”French Cassettes: Santa Cruz Tomorrow
Dixie Lane opens the album with a powerful beat, vocals with a nice tape delay, guitars with an evident high pass filter that creates space for the other instruments as they’re introduced. The tight vocal harmonies are like ear candy. This song sets the stage for the remaining seven tracks.
The harmonies on City Kitty are so soothing. Utah has so many pop elements that you’ll put the song on repeat. Unfermented is another song where the percussion drives the song, and has a great dynamic between a thick chorus and a stripped down verse. So Good is the perfect closing song. The tape delay on the repeating guitar melody and vocals gives the song such a nice depth.
This is a band that understand grooves (and I can’t help but reuse that word when describing French Cassettes), writing songs that are so addictive and full of hooks, where every bandmate shines. The harmonies are perfectly placed. And the instruments move throughout the song, utilizing changing effects and placements. They looked at each segment of their songs and examined how they could make the song more interesting with the mix. There’s a reason this album took time to complete.
There’s no reason this band shouldn’t explode. Rolodex is an immediate standout album of 2020, brilliant in every moment. Don’t miss it.
French Cassettes links: