Editor’s Note: This is a review of Les Chaussette’s new split, out now on Punk Fox, in addition to some extra tracks from the band.
You know that moment, normally reserved for romantic films: where by some chance encounter, as you’re going about your daily routine, fate forces your path to cross with someone. Sparks fly, birds sing, it’s magical – or at least the movies paint it that way. Vancouver four-piece, Les Chaussettes, make music to compliment moments like these. Music that washes over you and leaves you feeling all warm and fuzzy inside: the perfect soundtrack to a piece of French New Wave cinema. The Vancouver rain feels like a Parisian midsummer evening with this band in your headphones.
The band creates this atmosphere through exemplary musicianship. The way the swirling guitars intertwine with the bassline, the vocal harmonies on “Don’t Leave Your Lover,” shows a mastery of songwriting rarely seen from DIY bands in a fledgling stage of their careers. It’s impressive given that bassist Maria Turner only started playing the four-stringed instrument when the band was formed a little over two years ago.
This is a collection of songs with lyrics which are easy to connect with. There are tales of troubled relationships, “I cannot live without you / Come to me, come to me” on stand-out track “Come To Me.” A quirky twist on heartache in “Unrequited Love” depicts the dilemma of fancying your best friend’s brother. The majority of listeners will have had similar experiences. It is a showcase of how to write good pop songs.
Before I continue to wax lyrical about what Les Chaussettes have created, it is clear from listening to the music that the band is not completely comfortable with being pigeon-holed. The EP opens with “Triple Water,” which is bookended by a thudding distorted bassline and a scuzzy guitar solo. On “Russian Boy” the chorus is chanted “Russian Boy! / Don’t you want to party more?” along with a Carlos Santana-esque guitar solo thrown into the mix. These elements surrounding the brilliant songs are a red herring more than anything, suggesting to the listener that the infectious indie-pop is not what defines the band.
Don’t get me wrong, it isn’t. But that being said, the overall effect you get is that warm blanket feeling. It seems to me that Les Chaussettes need to be more comfortable with writing these sexy pop songs. They’re very talented musicians and should wear their hearts on their sleeves.