French Toast

Ingleside Terrace

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To call the second full-length from French Toast a departure would be an understatement. To say the least. From the first few bars of the opening track, "The Letter," this almost feels like a totally different band. While the addition of Ben Gilligan probably has a lot to do with the development, the elements that made their debut a solid ride are still in the fore, suggesting a band that -- regardless of member additions -- is progressing rather than resting. While the debut In a Cave was a stark, early-'80s-mood-meets-21st-century-approach affair, Ingleside Terrace feels like a jump through time. Elements of Pavement's brand of melody, late-'80s American underground rock, and more recent electronic styling all mixed together result in a playful, driving rock & roll record that manages to add fuel to the argument that nothing beats a power trio. While In a Cave sidled up to the more chill and distant aspects of new wave and post-punk, Ingleside Terrace -- in both its production sensibility and songwriting -- takes that and adds a bit of swagger, a bit of soul. If In a Cave (perhaps purposely) felt like a small room, Ingleside Terrace feels like moving landscapes and wide horizons. An impressive follow-up to an impressive debut.

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