French coldwave (not chillwave or Cold Cave) duo Frank (Just Frank) release their debut The Brutal Wave next month via Wierd Records. You may hear the Cure in the guitar tones (or XTC’s “Mayor Of Simpleton” in the introduction to “Crisis”), but it’s a distinctive and updated collection that blends icy, melancholic guitar/synthesizers, dark drum machines, post-punk, and a couple of languages. The band’s sound is harder to pin down than “Parisian early ’80s-inflected synth pop.” One half the band (Chris) was born in NJ and grew up with the other half (Kirti) in Nice. They both went to school in London, where they listened to black and death metal before moving into the so-called “Black Wave” (i.e. coldwave + black metal) scene. Despite the t-shirt in the band’s photo, you won’t hear anything as extreme as that on the jangling “Coeur Hanté.” It’s sort of like early R.E.M. via Siouxsie and Joy Division (and the Smiths in those vocals). Put Frank (Just Frank) beside recent favorites from Tamaryn, Crystal Castles, Salem, Oneohtrix Point Never, and Blessure Grave and we’re gonna have a moody summer.
Here’s a video for “Die In Bed,” another track from the album.
The Brutal Wave is out 7/6 via Wierd Records. You should dig into the Wierd catalog. Plenty of great (brainy) things going on with the label. And, an interesting aside regarding the below album art via the press release:
Printed in a sickly sweet hue of electric pink on a coldly neutral gray, the album cover depicts a French Right wing sympathizer/seducer having her head shaved by a Leftist as punishment for her politics and thus ‘personal imperfections’. This 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 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.