FRENCH VANILLA: SELF-TITLED
Should it had ever happened that New York No Wave (think James Chance or ESG) ever hooked up with Olympia, Washington, in the early 90’s, the child would that would have resulted would be French Vanilla. To be clear, this is no bastardized version of these two aesthetic poles—French Vanilla is uniquely their own and have crafted a identity that’s nowhere near derivative. Speaking of identity, the narrative of self-defining identity politics (when did this become such a bad phrase?!) is a thread running through this album. There exists an urgency to assert themselves as individuals in the minefield that is late capitalism—the need and desire to be acknowledged on their own terms drives the compulsive feel of each track. But look—this album is damn fun as well. It’s almost as though the notions of identity politics invite one to dance; the exhaustion, acuteness and confusion of being a human being makes one want to act out in a certain way, and French Vanilla provides the soundtrack. This album reminds use it’s OK to be human, flawed, fun, bewildered and the like. Yet, that needn’t be the source of alienation. French Vanilla makes one feel like dancing while reading Simone de Beauvoir, which is probably the best way to spend a Friday night these days anyway.