UPDATE 11/23/11 Official video for "I Never Saw You Kiss Him" here: youtu.be/OHytnkhRCZY
As a people, the French are known for their love of love. On the other side of the Atlantic, Philadelphia indie rockers The Quelle Source are tackling something just a little different on their new EP The French Rapture: the full-on, sweeping, epic, and ultimately futile attempts to stop loving someone.
That’s some serious shit, and not easy to accomplish, as anyone who’s loved someone who doesn’t love them back can attest. But this is The Quelle Source, a band that proudly touted the fact that their previous release – debut LP Enjoy the Ridge – contained precisely zero love songs. In other words, the group’s members aren’t about to wallow, and certainly not openly. Their MO: Take those down-and-out lyrics and that depressing song content, mash ’em up against some pretty harmonies, dense reverb, and overdrive, and go to town.
Case in point: Title track “The French Rapture” rides a climbing, catchy-as-all-hell bass line, timely group vocals and sprightly synth work so engagingly that it’s easy to miss the song’s true content – which, of course, concerns a guy not-so-convincingly justifying his decision to cheat on his girlfriend. “I could have sworn that I was a good man / but you have no idea how it feels to be surrounded.” Whoops – nice try, but those aren’t the words of someone who’s sorry.
The b-sides are no less drastic. Drummer Brendan Lafferty’s blisteringly distorted high-hat hits try their damnedest to outmatch singer Kevin Ryan’s layered harmonies on “Never Be Hungry Again” before Dan Wisniewski’s lead vocals enter and growl in caterwaul. The track – a patient, pulsing trip grounded in Dan Comly’s solid keyboard work – is a successful break from the structural and musical norms of a band that sometimes finds it hard to revisit the same musical idea twice in the same song.
The EP concludes with “I Never Saw You Kiss Him,” a plaintive, deceptively simple indie pop song that turns the ruminations inward. The tune ends with a drunken group questioning, en masse, “Shouldn’t we love the people who love us?” – an absurd request borne more out of desperation and fear of facing the unknown than anything else. As the group vocals fade, you can hear Wisniewski say, “Let’s do it again,” only to be met with bewilderment: “What?” “Are you serious?” Those two denials – coincidentally both from women – are a fitting end, especially for an album examining something as ubiquitous, lovely, inescapable and destructive as relationships.
released 27 September 2011
Dan Comly: keyboards
Brendan Lafferty: drums
Kevin Ryan: vocals and guitar
Chris Wafer: bass
Dan Wisniewski: vocals and guitar
"The French Rapture" written by Comly, Lafferty, Ryan, Wafer and Wisniewski. "Never Be Hungry Again" and "I Never Saw You Kiss Him" written by Wisniewski.
"The French Rapture" recorded by Jesse Soifer in The Sweat Lodge, and mixed and mastered by Jesse Soifer at The Sweat Lodge and Cody Cichowski at Milkboy Recording Studios in Ardmore, PA.
"Never Be Hungry Again" and "I Never Saw You Kiss Him" recorded by The Quelle Source and mixed and mastered by Cody Cichowski at Milkboy Recording Studios in Ardmore, PA.
Artwork by The Quelle Source.
Special thanks to Mark Wisniewski for the drum mics and to Chris Wafer for the years of service.