30 Jan 2022
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French For Rabbits - Single/Video Review: Ouija Board

12 Aug 2021 // A review by Kev Rowland

French For Rabbits started life as the duo of Brooke Singer and John Fitzgerald some ten years ago, but by the time of their last album, 2017’s The Weight of Melted Snow they had become a quartet with the addition of Ben Lemi and Hikurangi Schaverien-Kaa, while Penelope Esplin (Grawlixes) has joined since then. The quintet has just released the second single from their forthcoming album, and based on Ouija Board I am definitely looking forward to hearing that when it is available. If one goes to their Facebook page you will see the comment “Creating relatable songs for introverts since 2012 - Soft-goth / dream-pop”. I have long given up trying to understand all the sub-sub genres of rock, yet this really does describe the music which feels as if it has come to us from another realm.

This is music of a time gone past, somehow both modern and seemingly from the last Sixties, all wrapped up in wonderful vocals. Brooke has an incredible voice, and it is the harmonies which are at the forefront. The song starts with a crash on a cymbal, then the drums lead us into music which has so much space within it that it should just fall to pieces. It is easy to let it all fall over the listener like a gossamer cloud but play close attention and you can hear deliciously warm basslines, a guitar adding additional notes on the melody line, another with some harsher chords, a deliciously dated keyboard sound, and always those wonderful vocals. One small nuance which made me smile was when the drum and guitar come in a full beat too soon – it only happens a couple of times during the song, but the impact is really dramatic.

This is music from a distant time and place, and it is only fitting that the video is in a similar vein. It features four characters on a beach, all with unusual masks, and feels like a combination of an art rock short movie and something out of a Monty Python sketch, yet way more other worldly and less comical. It is visually quite disturbing in many ways, and so at odds with the delicious sounds in your ears. They have recently been touring further down the country but are promising to come up to the Auckland area later in the year and that really will be one not to miss.

Rating: ( 5 / 5 )
 

About French For Rabbits

Hailing from New Zealand, haunting dream-folk duo French For Rabbits have been quietly building a reputation for their sad yet brave songs. Since releasing their debut EP Claimed By The Sea in March 2012, they have gathered a dedicated fan-base around the globe with handwritten letters and home-assembled albums.

The authenticity of their songs and their engaging live shows has resulted in student radio play in New Zealand, support in the UK from BBC 6 presenters Gideon Coe, Tom Ravenscroft and The Shed’s Mark Coles, and a nomination for Best Folk Album of 2013 for the New Zealand music awards. They have also received funding from NZ On Air for a single and video due out later this year.

Brooke Singer, who is the fragile voiced songstress and writer for the duo, began performing with guitarist John Fitzgerald in 2011. Determined to overcome an acute fear of singing in public, the pair shifted to Wellington from their hometown of Christchurch and set about tentatively performing at an intimate open mic at a local café. They have since toured nationally in New Zealand, and played alongside the likes of Jess Chambers, Darren Hanlon and Tiny Ruins.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for French For Rabbits

Releases

The Overflow
Year: 2021
Type: Album
The Weight of Melted Snow
Year: 2019
Type: Album
Buy Online @ Mightyape
Spirits
Year: 2014
Type: Album
Buy Online @ Mightyape
Claimed By The Sea
Year: 2012
Type: EP

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