I swear I saw these guys live when I was younger. Then again, if you grow up in San Francisco it becomes hilariously easy to confuse memories of the bands you went to go see. But French Cassettes relocated here from Ripon, California in 2008 so it's possible.
Their album, Gold Youth is comprised of infectious power pop hooks backed usually by soft vocal harmonies and arresting percussion. Very buoyant melodies, with the same lush rhythm sections also present in bands such as The Shins and Vampire Weekend. "Boys," for example, uses clapping and sharp drum notes alongside a verdant guitar lick. Actually clapping is used often enough throughout the album. I dig what these guys are doing though, as there doesn't seem to be a moment of sadness on the album, although moods do change from energetic joy to something else. "Teeth for Talking" deviates from the pop blueprint by using much tighter drumming and keyboarding with soft piano background noises, and even the vocalist pours some vinegar on his sugary delivery.
Gold Youth turned out to be a special listen. Many of these songs remind me of "indie rock" when I first heard it. All I have now are comparisons (Again, The Shins, Vampire Weekend, but also consider the Belle & Sebastian influences on this album), but the fact is Gold Youth was a fantastic trip down memory lane. Don't interpret this as a slight; entire genres are being perpetuated thanks to nostalgia. Garage rock, for example will never die. It's time to accept the fact that I'm getting old, and let French Cassettes play to others so that they can discover the magic of rock music that uses weird time signatures, stark drum breaks and exotic-sounding vocal harmonies. I'm glad that music like this is still being made.
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