Frànçois and The Atlas Mountains: L’homme Tranquille EP (Domino)
LP / DL
African influenced French / British band, Frànçois and The Atlas Mountains, release their new EP. Louder Than War’s Paul Scott-Bates reviews.
If any group can aid the wider acceptance of African music into the mainstream then that’s just fine by Louder Than War. It’s a much maligned and misunderstood musical style and one which is often typecast by (unintended) semi-racial comments.
Enter Francois And The Atlas Mountains who are strong contenders to help change a lot of perceptions. Blending traditional sounding French folk pop with an indie slant and a clear love of African beats, the band fronted by Francois Marry have released a fine four track EP which can do nothing but increase everyone’s curiosity.
Armed with several tunes which had already been drafted, the band took a ten day journey across Ethiopia, Senegal, Burkina Faso, and Benin absorbing the vibes and jamming with African musicians adding traditional instruments like the ngoni to their sound. The resulting L’homme Tranquille EP is catchy and incredibly listenable.
Opener Ayan File is a marvellous piece of Afro-beat with a hook that is both memorable and entirely enjoyable. The instrumentation is something to behold and the funky style is full of passion and superb musicianship.
Second track, Jeans, is almost twee on first listen and although the chorus is maybe a little too repetitive to start, it soon fits. There’s hints of bluegrass in a more ‘commercially acceptable’ track which again is completely infectious as Marry’s voice glides along in his sexy French accent.
Volcan seems to include a very similar riff to Jeans but is a lot more subdued and maybe less influenced than the sounds of Africa than its predecessors. EP closer Dessine picks up the pace once more with a livelier affair and again an infectious sound and vocal.
Frànçois and The Atlas Mountains are a breath of fresh air and hold a lot of promise for some terrific releases in the future. Keep an eye on this lot.
All words by Paul Scott-Bates. More of Paul’s writing on Louder Than War can be found at his author’s archive. Paul’s website is hiapop Blog and you can follow him on Twitter here, and on Facebook here. You can also follow him on Twitter as @saveonthewire for all On The Wire news.