French Wives
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French Wives

Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom | SELF

Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom | SELF
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Scotland is establishing a firm reputation for producing literate, folk-referencing indie pop and you wouldn’t bet against French Wives being the next band to be packed, bar-coded and posted off down south for wider consumption. Songs like Covered in Grace and Hallowe’en boast layered vocals and guitars that are a lot noisier than we expect, and the Captain’s Rest – again full to the brim – shows them a lot of love. An album’s due to be recorded in the summer, and with a number of plaudits already having been foisted upon them, French Wives are really looking like a band to watch. [SL] - The Skinny


French Wives... packed the venue to capacity with their rich, pocket-epic strain of indie-folk - The List


Tagged as Glasgow’s latest bastions of jangle-friendly pop, French Wives have a lot to live up to in a city steeped in melody making tradition. Fortunately, the fledgling quartet possess an artillery that more than justifies the swooning adjectives gushing their way from local press quarters. Infectious of sound and purposeful in delivery, May’s resplendent single 'Me Vs Me' is a charging, dance floor friendly throng of instrument that subtly tips its hat to luminaries like Orange Juice and Franz without riding their coattails. Every inch their own band, it’s this headstrong sense of sonic identity that’s become French Wives’ greatest strength. - Drowned In Sound


FRENCH Wives are no strangers to two things, praise and comparison; and it’s difficult to read anything about the Glasgow based five-piece which doesn’t at once praise their craft, and highlight their artistic debt to a host of other acts, persistently Belle & Sebastian, Camera Obscura and Arcade Fire.

Although a French Wives show is unlikely to dilute the validity of such comparisons – if anything it reinforces them – it’s also equally likely to illustrate the sheer quality of their material, and this show did just that.


French Wives
They opened with the infectiously direct ‘Me vs Me’, boasting just the right amount of smart and immediate hooks and punchy ramshackle energy.

French Wives explicitly trace a musical vein from Orange Juice through Teenage Fanclub to Belle & Sebastian and on to the current crop of fine Scottish bands carrying this mantle forward, and operate firmly within these artistic parameters, but, at the same time, they boast some fantastically promising material which brims with freshness and quality.

What they do successfully and skilfully is restructure timeless formulas and inject them with enough creative individuality and distinct stylistic features to render them completely relevant.

The recent single, and purpose of their current tour, ‘Welcome, in the Light’ is a real highlight, and sparkles with an instant irresistibility, as is the sublime folk reverie of ‘Halloween’ and the stabbing string-driven ‘Greet Me By The Doorway’.

As performers, French Wives are engaging, sincere and very cool, with frontman Stuart Dougan an understatedly charismatic presence throughout.

So, it’s safe to say that French Wives are not the most progressive new band in Scotland, but they are one of the most promising. They also appear to be loved in these parts, and their commitment to reaching Highland audiences consistently across the last eighteen months or so, including a stand out Strongbow Tent appearance at Rockness this summer, ensured a decent audience for what was an extremely enjoyable evening. - Northings


Possibly one of the more ‘tipped’ bands at present, this is the debut single from a 5-piece which is, in some ways typical a Glasgow act - hints of Belle and Sebastian and My Latest Novel for sure here – but, there’s something more.
Perhaps it’s the way they go from folky mawkishness to a kind of jiggy bounciness, like a punk rock Dexys Midnight Runners. Perhaps it’s the vocal which would be more at home on a 80s goth tune, or the general eccentric feel – there’s a little of the sound of Talking Heads but quite a bit of their own inventive streak. Either way, ‘Me vs Me’ suggests that perhaps we can believe the hype. - Is This Music?


Pinning down French Wives should be easy. The Glasgow quintet's instrumentally vast symphonies saunter with a grandeur that can be described in just two words: Arcade Fire.
Yet, perhaps in spite of such predictable pigeonholing, French Wives insist there's more than just an overt set of influences at their core. Frontman Stuart Dougan explains: "We're all into varied genres, ranging from conventional indie through to electronica, but it's probably to our advantage as it gives our music a little bit more depth."

Depth's certainly not something you could accuse French Wives of lacking. Overflowing with melody, their songs flutter the heart strings with grace and vigour; swooshing from dainty canticle to pulsing anthem without the bat of an indie-rock eyelid.

Only a year old, this fledgling outfit create soundscapes that surpass those of more roadtested acts. Their philosophy, however, remains refreshingly spritely: "We want to make our mums proud," half jokes Dougan. "We'd also like to write songs that people will relate to. I know it sounds obvious, but it's more difficult than most people think."

That difficulty lies in proving there's something more than mere bandwagon-hopping. It's a feat Dougan believes his band are more than capable of achieving. "We really enjoy pushing ourselves to write better songs and we love performing our own music to people," he exclaims. "We like to think we put on an entertaining and energetic live show, and feel that compared to other bands our songwriting and arrangements can hold the attention of even the drunkest of hecklers."

Firmly embedded within the Scottish music scene's nurturing bosom, Dougan maintain a sensible head when it comes to grandstanding its rejuvenation. "There's certainly a lot of lovely people and it's good that Scottish music is starting to get a bit more attention," he explains. "That being said there's only a handfull of Scottish band's that I really enjoy."

As for the future, a depleted French Wives are looking forward to finally firing on all cylinders: "Our guitarist Scott has been studying in America for the last five months," says Dougan. "This has hindered us slightly but he'll be back in Glasgow next week which we're very excited about."

It seems it's full steam ahead for French Wives.
- The Scotsman


Discography

'Halloween/Dogfight' (Double A Side Single) - 2009
'Me vs. Me' (Single) - 2010
'Feel Safe Small' (EP) - 2011
'Numbers' (Single) - 2011
'Dream of the In Between' (Album) - 2012

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Bio

FRENCH WIVES

“Infectious of sound and purposeful in delivery… every inch their own band, it’s this headstrong sense of sonic identity that’s become French Wives’ greatest strength.”
Drowned In sound

“Overflowing with melody, their songs flutter the heart strings with grace and vigour”
The Scotsman

“there is something quintessentially unique about them…they really do possess a distinct sound and quality that is unmistakably their own”
Glasgow PodcArt

"French Wives harness a bittersweet, literary sound that blends indie-pop, folk and epic melodies that make your heart jump. I for one am a fan!"
Vic Galloway- BBC Radio 1/Radio Scotland

Band to Watch for 2011- The Sun Newspaper

Scotsman Radar Prize winners 2010

Festival appearances include: SXSW 2012, Canadian Music Week, T in the Park, Rockness, Loopallu, Stag and Dagger, Hinterland, Connect, Wickerman

Fuelled by a passion to create memorable, melodic pop music with interesting and intelligent lyrical content, French Wives see 2012 as the year for them to fully break through. Having spent nearly all of 2011 preparing their debut album, "Dream of the In Between" the band are desperate to return to touring and to catch a few hearts and minds along the way with their uplifting melodies and thought provoking lyrics.

Formed by Stuart Dougan (vocals, guitar), Scott Macpherson (guitar, vocals), Chris Barclay (bass, trombone, vocals), Jonny Smith (drums) and Siobhan Anderson (violin, vocals) in Glasgow in 2008, the band quickly garnered a dedicated fan base in their native Scotland for their rich, eloquent sounds.

They were helped to achieve this through a constant dedication to playing live during their university studies as well as excellent support from BBC Introducing and BBC Radio Scotland. Furthermore, the band were selected from over 2000 applicants to perform on the prestigious T Break stage at Scotland's biggest music festival, T in the Park in 2010. Indeed, the were selected to headline the stage on the Friday evening. Initially the band regarded this honour as something of a poisoned chalice- the joy of headlining, but the fear of being up against far more established groups such as Muse, the Black Eyed Peas and Calvin Harris. However, these fears proved to be short lived as a huge number of fans shunned the chart artists to enjoy a triumphant set by the band to a full tent.

The band's early achievements have included sell-out headline shows at the historic Glasgow rite of passage that is King Tut's Wah Wah Hut as well as numerous acclaimed short releases. Indeed their first single, Halloween, released in 2009 on Instinctive Racoon records has become something of a trademark song for the band, and is one of only two previously played songs that appear on their album (albeit with a new arrangement). The repeated vocal at the end is quite often treated by audiences as a mass sing-along which has had extremely stirring effects in the past.

Following major support slots with Two Door Cinema Club, Mystery Jets and Bombay Bicycle Club and their longest UK tour to date, French Wives set about composing their debut album in March 2011. Releasing an album that was essentially a collection of the songs they have played live since they formed was never considered as an option for French Wives. Traditionalists with regards to albums being a singular body of work, the band wanted their record to run as a single entity, intertwining lyrical themes and musical motifs throughout.

In order to achieve this the band retired to a dirty, windowless rehearsal room down a lane on the South Side of Glasgow and spent three months locked away writing the songs which will make up 'Dream of the In Between,' and even a day cleaning the studio! Musically, the record represents a massive step up for the band thanks to the months of dedication they put into meticulously crafting the songs as well as a much clearer vision of the sound they sought. This sound, as stated above, was one firmly routed in pop sensibility but containing hooks and musical embellishments which grip and excite listeners.

Thematically, the album focuses on the discontent of not quite being where you'd like to be and all the hopes, fears, struggles and lessons encountered in trying to get beyond such a place. It casts light on 'the middle bit' between the conception and realisation of a goal that whilst challenging and often unpleasant, is something we all must encounter at some point and is what ultimately shapes an individual.

Songs written, the band set about finding a producer to work with, and were incredibly privileged to be able to work with Tony Doogan (Belle and Sebastian, Wintersleep, Mogwai, Hey Rosetta) which, due to his pop production preferences, was a perfect marriage for the band. The album also features numerous guest musicians, in the form of piano and keys players, a string quartet and a brass quartet. These extra parts add greatly to the rich