The Treacherous French‘s latest record, “Snapshots” is a rock ‘n’ roll Spaghetti Western born in the misty streets of San Francisco. Cara Madden, Charlie Kaupp, Phil Bergeron, and Olivier René have a distinctive knack for poignant lyrics, lilting melodies, and aggressive instrumental sounds that, when combined, evoke the best of folk-punk, Celtic rock, and Americana. The opening track, “The Book,” is a dramatic build; brooding guitar chords and a distinctive, pirate-y melody in the accordion set the stage for a mysterious duet about the Book of Ages. The track reaches an intense climax as the drums drop in, raging with the best of ’em.
The group’s sound on “Snapshots” evokes the rawness of the Dropkick Murphys combined with the lyrical and vocal poetics of groups like the Head and the Heart and Mumford and Sons. With lovely duets, harmonies, intricate accordion and acoustic guitar lines, the record has some very distinct Americana notes, although they are not afraid to bring in loud, distorted guitars and slamming drums when the song calls for them. Each song occupies its own sonic space and the record flows nicely, overall.
My personal favorite is “Apple.” Sweeping piano chords open the track like a ray of sunshine as the story unfolds – an adventurer setting out on the eve of war. We then take a sharp turn into the heaviest jam of the record. Cara and Charlie’s high energy vocals cry “The city screams out” as we hear a rocking organ solo by Olivier over Phil’s rocking bass groove. I love this track because just when you think you know this record, we explore new territory on the penultimate track. You’re definitely in for a great ride.
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