Frank (Just Frank) – “Mr. Itagaki” Video (Stereogum Premiere)
In our BTW writeup of Class Of 2010 NJ/Nice black and death metal-bred French coldwave duo Frank (Just Frank) we quoted a text from the band offering background info for “Mr. Itagaki,” a standout from their excellent debut The Brutal Wave:
[The] tension between Right and Left, dark and light, and private versus public consistently replays itself throughout the record, both in the lyrical content and the musical dynamics at work. FJF employ the trope to recount a true story concerning a Japanese professor of both [band members] Chris and Kirti’s wrongly accused of rascism by an African student in “Mr. Itagaki,” which stirs a discussion both of WWII fascism and the obliterating powers of Western liberalism that brought the Japanese to their knees with Hiroshima’s destruction.
Keep all of that in mind while watching the song’s video, directed and edited by David Insull.
The Brutal Wave is out via Wierd. Revisit the “Coeur Hanté” clip. In this interview FJF did with Fact Magazine, Kirti talks a bit about the overlap and affinities between extreme metal and synth-based music, a subject I’ve been pretty obsessed with over the past year or so.
We met in school in the south of France as young teenagers, and bonded over a shared interest in what we considered ‘extreme music’. It started with simple rock and metal bands, but rapidly turned towards death and black metal, of which there was a strong scene in the area where we grew up, and in parallel also post-punk and 80s pop. I think the blending of these two currents led us to Frank (Just Frank); we thought there was an almost visceral energy in post-punk which resonated well with the musical approach of extreme metal bands. Frank (Just Frank) basically just started with the intention of playing dreamy post-punk inspired by Depeche Mode and The Cure, but with a ‘no compromise’ approach borrowed from underground metal.
‘Brutal wave’ was coined for the reasons I’ve just outlined: ‘brutal’ is a prefix derived from the metal vocabulary, one used to describe the sound of bands putting a bigger emphasis on the the ‘extreme’ aspect of their sound – hence metal fans will make a difference between death metal / black metal / grindcore and brutal death / brutal grind. This jargon, and an understanding of the musical nuances it described, was like second nature to us when we grew up: the fact that Deicide was death metal as opposed to Cannibal Corpse which was brutal death, was the kind of self-evident fact that we based our early musical knowledge on. Since we were trying, with Frank (Just Frank), to play post-punk (i.e. ‘wave’ music) with this underground metal edge, the term ‘brutal wave’ came very naturally.