Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Album Review: Morning Favorites – The Five Red Flags

Amazingly, I can’t remember the last time I listened to a truly promising new band from France (of course, that could just be the failing memory talking). And I’m not talking about new stuff from the usual suspects (see: Air, Phoenix, Justice) or classic stuff from old favorites (see: Serge Gainsbourg, Francoise Hardy). After all, there is a rather unfortunate reputation France seems to hold when it comes to not putting out much in the way of music. Film, food, and wine seem to be the traditional areas in which France historically has and continues to excel. But lo and behold, here comes a new French band, full of indie-flavored, dreamy dancepop (or, “kinetic pop” as they call it). The Five Red Flags, the latest record by Morning Favorites, is what I like to call tres jolie.

On their Myspace page, the band cites “stuff what happens” as their influence. Translate their bio into English and you’ll get a mass of nonsensical, almost maniacal verbiage. But turn on The Five Red Flags, and the translation is clear. Good music transcends the language barrier, friends. First track “Closed Up In A Star” takes starry-eyed, poppy rhythms and presents itself in the icy coolness of slick production. The explosion of big beatiness near the end is as cool as the other side of the pillow, making this the first of many surprisingly delightful songs.

There’s something poignant about the remembrances in “That’s How It Is”, with the delicate strums of the acoustic that give way to a full, rich sound. The French have such a way with words, even when they’re being sung in a language other than their native tongue (Morning Favorites sing in English, which is kinda nice for us who are less than skilled with the Language of Love). “All Along The Distance (1033)” has a slow, saucy little intro, and some pretty fresh bedroom vocals, too. Not a bad little groove, I must say. Nor is “Seven & Seven & Seven”, another slow-burning groove with a warm, lazy bass beat and some shimmering guitar. It’s definitely one of my favorites.

I didn’t know what to expect from Morning Favorites, but I was very pleasantly surprised. There’s definite promise here, and The Five Red Flags shows a flair for making pretty good music. It’s a little bit of everything, trancey grooves, Britpop-inspired indie, and well-worn, comfortably ethereal French dancepop. All in all, not too shabby. I’m looking forward to seeing what else this band has to offer.

mp3: Closed Up In A Star (Morning Favorites from The Five Red Flags)

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