New York quartet French Kicks get better from each album to the next. They released their first record in 2002 and subsequently have released a new record every two years. 2006's Two Thousand is a riveting rock record, but it's this year's Swimming where the band hits its zenith on a light and breezy, woozy album perfect for summer listening.
Download: French Kicks - "Carried Away"
The group sometimes sounds akin to the Walkmen and maybe it's because they both transplanted to NY from D.C and have that whole slow kick drum and drawn out vocals meshing together thing going on. The Kicks begin with "This Could Go Wrong" from the latest record full of languid "ohhhs" and those nice drum beats. Most of the set draws from the new record with some older nuggets thrown in. Next is "Abandon," a peppier song followed by "Carried Away" where lead singer Stumpf really sounds like Hamilton Leithauser. Stumpf temporarily walks offstage to return a couple of minutes later gripping a guitar. During "Said So What," suddenly bubbles float around the stage adding to the easy breezy vibe. When was the last time you went to a show where there was a bubble machine? Exactly. The Kicks dig into older stuff playing "Trial of the Century" from their second album of the same name. It's one of their best lovelorn ballads as a lot of their songs encircle love and love gone wrong. They perform "New Man," one of their best tracks from Swimming that crests on "ohhhs" and guitar jamming. Visiting their previous record, stand out and rock-centric track "So Far We Are" is played breaking the melodic mode. During the encore they play "One More Time" from their first record, one of the only appearances from that album. The Kicks is the kind of band that once you hear them live, you immediately want to go home and listen to the rest of their discography because the music is so catchy and impressionable. And the bubbles don't hurt either.