A lot has changed since French for Rabbits first formed in 2012. At the time, Brooke Singer and John Fitzgerald were two friends living in the cozy, seaside town of Waikuku Beach on New Zealand’s South Island and writing whispery, wind-swept dream-folk and dream-pop. After the release of their critically acclaimed debut album, Spirits, the duo saw their popularity heighten across the country and abroad, particularly in Europe. They also captured our attention in early 2015, as we featured them as one of our hidden gems (this was before we had anyone in based in New Zealand).
Fast forward to present day and French for Rabbits now call Wellington home, so Singer and Fitzgerald could be closer to their band mates Hikurangi Schaverien Kaa (drums), Penelope Esplin (backing vocals/percussion), and Ben Would (bass). Together, they’ve taken the bedroom intimacy of French for Rabbits’ original material and made them fuller, more expansive, and even more cinematic. Their new album, The Weight of Melted Snow, is, in many ways, a culmination of the band’s evolution and expansion. While the LP was released in mid-March in New Zealand only and an international release has yet to be announced (possibly September this year), we can say that the LP is even dreamier than their debut.
Over the past three weeks, French for Rabbits have been touring across New Zealand to share the songs from their new record. On Saturday night, they performed a “hometown” show, selling out San Fran in Wellington. The performance, shall we say, was exactly what one would expect from the band. It was intimate and warm like friends sitting around a campfire and singing songs together and with the occasional light banter and joke being told. That is the power of French for Rabbits’ music and live show – they welcome you into their world and make you feel like family.
Opening for French for Rabbits this night was Secret Knives. The best way to describe the Wellington-based artist is that he’s a mix of Bonobo, Tycho, and Jonny Greenwood. His debut album, Snuff, is expected later this year.
View photos of both artists’ performances in the photo essay below. The photos are provided by Shyam Patel. Words are by Ben Yung.
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