Frank Rabeyrolles - Frank Rabeyrolles

Frank seems to be someone who says “that’s a great idea!, no hang on, wait a minute” in his songs too, and this indecision (allied to his "core eccentricty") informs his music a hell of a lot.

(Wool Recordings)

A marvellous record, high Gallic froideur and a fair whack of gentle playfulness: your very own copy of “Synths – A User’s Manual”… In all seriousness this LP is great, and the opener, Trees, is magnificent: an elegant and elegiac piece, the sad little melody is balanced between some attractive cold wave and Utopian synths – the song sweeping ghostlike through some park in autumn. It’s all a little bit John Foxx. We get a similar feel in the excellently spooky instrumental Cold Tropics (which is basically Fade to Grey made digital).

Your Energy is a more upbeat affair, initially casting off the ghostly synths of Trees in favour of a soulful and direct pop chorus though there are bits in this track that are still wan and in this and other tracks, (like Drive and the brilliant Dirty Windows), Rabeyrolles comes over a bit like a little boy lost; someone who is a bit too open and naïve for his own social good. With titles like Eggs No Eggs or Dirty Windows or Seriously we may see a quiet unassuming individual who’s negotiating his own quizzical path through life. But he's able to soundtrack his musings in a very appealling manner, make no mistake: Listening to Tago Mago is the most blatant pop song on this LP, a mix of winning hooks in the chorus and cautious introspection in the refrains – it’s a funny thing but it works.

Frank Rabeyrolles does seem to be someone who says “that’s a great idea!, no hang on, wait a minute” in his songs too, and this indecision (allied to his "core eccentricty") informs his music a hell of a lot. Seriously is another great song, a moody synth refrain over some wobbly, slightly fried vocals and Black Cat is a fab refrain, over a sort of demented underpowered trance track. Frank sounds like he’s been zombified; such is the deadened nature of his voice. And to the latter track: is he singing about the Yugofilm of the same name, or is he singing about his cats? We may never know. Elsewhere, Soap and Bubbles see Mr R contemplate life in the bath for about a minute or two and DIY is a funny clarion call to what Rabeyrolles seems to base his life round. And who are we to argue?

It’s a very engaging listen, and I recommend you stick with it.