Bands to Watch #355: Adam French

By on Wednesday, 19th August 2015 at 1:00 pm

Cheshire-born singer/songwriter Adam French has taken the long way round to bringing his music to the UK. He started out in a band called The Rittz back in 2007, but with his fellow bandmates heading off to university, French found himself at a fork in the road. He decided on a solo career at the end of 2012, combining his passion for music with an equal passion for travel and choosing to tour in Africa before gaining attention at home. His first tour took him through Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe and South Africa, catching the eye of BBC Introducing in this blog post from 2013.

French is a self-taught musician who plays guitar, piano, bass and drums. His proficiency on each is demonstrated on his ‘More to Life’ EP, which was released in October 2014. The EP might be more accurately called a double-sided single, containing only the title track and its b-side, but it provides just enough of a taste to whet the listener’s appetite.

The gritty, fast-paced single ‘More to Life’ is instantly engaging, with a delightfully danceable rhythm and a catchy chorus. The chorus lyric “I’ve never asked but / I’ve always wondered / just why you’re here / when there’s so much more to life” is layered with a faint but distinctly present backing melody to create a fuller sound as the song draws to a close.

The b-side track is a mysterious and beautiful song called ‘Ivory’, whose tribal percussion sound could have been inspired by French’s sojourn to Africa, along with the chorus lyric “on my knees / it’s your name that I’m calling out / ivory / feel my pain as they cut it all down / here we burn to the ground”. The plucked guitar and crystal clear piano melodies are a perfect accompaniment to French’s vocals, which alternate between whispered verses and a rougher, more dramatic full voice in the song’s intense moments. Once again, several motifs are morphed together in the coda to create a climactic, richly layered effect.

French’s newest release is a fragile and dramatically ethereal track called ‘Silhouettes’, which was released as a single back in April. French uses his silky falsetto most effectively in the recurring line “and you see me as a silhouette of the man I once was” as well as in the echo of the backing vocals. Indeed, his vocal delivery is exquisite on all three tracks, adding to his already spectacular list of performing abilities.

Fans of Nick Mulvey’s folk rock style will enjoy Adam French’s sound, which is less complex than Mulvey’s but more robust and with a world music twist that is equally compelling. French’s Facebook promises new music in the near future, after the summer festival season draws to a close. If you can’t wait that long, you can catch him live at Festival No. 6 in Portmeirion, Wales in September.

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There Goes The Fear is where we tell you about the latest music, gigs, and tours we love and think you should too.

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