Live Review: Francois and the Atlas Mountains

6 Feb

Green Door Store, Thursday, January 26 2012

Forget the club night anthems of Daft Punk or the gleaming disco pop of Air, Francois and the Atlas Mountains are about to become your favourite French band.

Not only do they have a charming album (E Volo Love) which is packed with sweet melodies, bilingual vocals and afropop rhythms, but they also put on a jaw-dropping experimental live show that leaves you thinking ‘where the bloody hell did that come from?’

This show, part of the annual Vive la France shindig, started off true to form as the jaunty yet gentle Les Plus Beaux skipped along with carefree abandon and featured some cute, co-ordinated hand gestures.

So it was a bit of a shock when Edge Of Town made it clear things were going to get far more lively than their laidback recorded offerings would suggest.

Seemingly propelled by an unexpectedly powerful bassline and frantic percussion, singer Francois flitted from languid cool to body-shaking escapism as the layers were expertly piled-on and the volume soared.

Next, The Pastels-influenced City Kiss was no longer a hazy, fey affair, but a majestic, head-bobbing belter, with added flurries of left-field beats and bravado.

From then on it was a free for all. While they didn’t go as far as to make their delicate songs unrecognisable, they frequently built them up with electronic wizardry, vocal gymnastics and a compelling concoction of wonky rhythms, multiple patterns of percussion and scintillating basslines.

As they bowed out with a riotous, loop-heavy, floor-filler, it was the clear that if surprise is a key element of attack, then Francois and the Atlas mountains are about to become all-conquering

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One Response to “Live Review: Francois and the Atlas Mountains”

  1. Knoob April 14, 2012 at 9:34 am #

    I saw this lovely band yesterday in Sheffield. They were great. I got chatting with the drummer who told me that the ‘Love’ in ‘E Volo Love’ comes from when Frànçois was living in Bristol and noticed everyone ending sentences with ‘love’ all the time … Thankfully he didn’t live in Newcastle or Wolverhampton … Imagine if the title were ‘E Volo Pet’ or ‘E Volo Cocka’.

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