François & the Atlas Mountains

E Volo Love

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François has spent time in Africa and in Bristol, and has taken in the music from both places. But it's impossible to deny his Gallic background. It's there on "Piscine," with its overtones of chanson, and on the duet of "Cherchant des Ponts," which calls to mind Gainsbourg-Birkin in its sweet sensuality, framed by glowing strings. "Edge of Town" bristles with African energy, all sharp corners and bustling rhythms with a simple guitar line. It's a far cry from Vampire Weekend, however, drawing from bands like Tinariwen and mixing them with a French pop sensibility that meshes perfectly. Running all though the disc, though, is an indie sensibility that relishes not fitting easily into any single pigeonhole -- "Muddy Heart," for instance, is nothing more than smart, modern pop/rock with a pleasing, catchy melody. On the other hand, parts of "Buried Treasures" bring Radiohead's "Creep" springing to mind, although it does contain some tasty guitar. It's not a deep, demanding album, but it is a pleasant, often charming listen.

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