french leaveWhen emerging indie bands first develop their sound, finding the precise balance of genre influences is akin to steering a boat: it’s okay to deviate from the course somewhat, but excessive deviation can result in being shipwrecked and/or capsized. Too much ambient reverb veers into post-rock or shoegaze realm; too little amplification steers towards folk; too few substantive lyrics lead to shallow pools of mainstream pop. The challenge for upcoming bands is to navigate the tricky narrows that lead them out from the shadows of their influences and into open waters of their own trademark sound. New bands never want to be stuck with the “just another <insert popular band name here>” label. Fortunately for Leicester-based indie group French Leave, they need not worry.

Their fusion of indie rock with elements of ambient, electronic, and pop is proof of their successful ability to forge a sound that is more innovative than imitative. On their latest self-released single, “Tourist, French Leave deliver an immediately accessible (and properly addictive) product that captures the urgency of Holy Fire-era Foals with the darker, minor-key edginess of Placebo, Faunts, or Editors. “Tourist” shows a depth to this East Midlands band whose most recent single (“Head Over Heels” released last September) had an intimate vibe more aligned with Bright Eyes or The National. The contrast between these two songs gives new listeners a clearer impression of what these talented musicians offer. Every aspect of this single – from the driving percussion to the reverb-accented guitar and bass that never overpower frontman Chris Reid’s vocals – works in unison to benefit the whole. French Leave have a tight cohesion, and the song’s production enhances the work of each member.

If you appreciate indie music that offers depth with just the right balance of edge and chill, then have a listen to French Leave. We won’t blame you for taking a French leave from your desk job to head out on a long drive with “Tourist” blaring from the speakers. You can get the single tomorrow (Friday, April 8th) from iTunes. The band will perform at Handmade Festival in Leicester at the end of this month.

French Leave are: Chris Reid (vocals, guitar), Steve Jordan (guitar), Oliver Martin (drums), and Ben Phipps (bass).

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