Je Suis France
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Je Suis France

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The best kept secret in music


"Fantastic Area Review"

"If you don't listen to the France / every night is meaningless."

They've said it before, on last year's teaser Ice Age EP, and now they've said it again, placing two versions of the song back-to-back in the middle of their second full length. And you know what? They're absolutely right!

With energy to spare, Je Suis France plow through one-minute off-the-cuff instrumentals, five-minute dirges that evoke thoughts of (dare I say?) Daydream Nation, and indie guitar wanks sung with tongue-in-cheek irony that stops shy of the pretentiousness of early Pavement. They're not as obviously goofy/offensive as Ween or as self-deprecating as Outkast, but they are proficient musicians who don't take themselves too seriously.

The title track opens the disc with a call to arms; band members welcome you (literally) to the Fantastic Area, in which they attempt jog your memory of the France by sharing anecdotes about getting malaria and venturing among "smoked out areas" (much in the way Simpsons character Troy McClure reminds everyone of his past credits). Next, "Memorial Day" assaults you with the rapturous clamor of a trio of buzzing, feedback-laden electric guitars a la Moore, Ranaldo, and Gordon. It's this wicked energy that fuels each of the disc's fifteen cuts. But it's not all rocking out with "Teen Riot" intensity. The France are equally at home on "Live to Win", a delicate, inspirational-sounding march that is as touching as "Ice Age" is insolent. The latter makes several audacious claims, including declaring 2003 the year of Je Suis France. And don't forget the sunny day pop fuzz of "Hammock", which sports the requisite "bop bah da bah bop bop" fill that clears the runway for a raucous "I want to lie in my hammock!" refrain.

Kingdoms were declared in Je Suis France's name after their self-titled debut. Here the group exhibits an even more worldly sound, from the jazz-influenced "Space Rules" to the Cormac McCarthy-esque lyrics of closer "Horse Violence". Perhaps they've been conquering new lands.

Let's face it: one of the (hopefully many -- Ed.) reasons you are a dedicated Splendid reader is that we fill you in on artists so you can enjoy them before they get too big. That makes you cooler, right? If you've hitherto ignored Je Suis France, I'm giving you one last chance to get on board -- unless you want to "discover" Fantastic Area on someone's tired old "Best of the Year" list. - Splendid E-Zine

"Fantastic Area Review"

I know that you've said bad things about the France. Everything was fine when they were Athens' premiere house-show band (remember house shows?), when band members would walk outside mid-song to refill their beers, when intense levels of inebriation made their sloppiness tolerable. You thought it was funny, they thought it was funnier, no one got hurt (but a lot of shit got broken).

And then the France tried to be a real band, and you didn't know how to react. They got a real drummer. They played real shows. They recorded a real album. And while that self-titled album may have baffled a nation of critics who got a big kick out of the bandmembers' names (OJ, Darkness, Iceberg...), you thought the joke was getting old, and you wanted to know when the France were going to start having fun again.

Rejoice, for Fantastic Area has arrived. Did you used to think the France were a bunch of pussies? Well, now they'll rock your face off. Did you used to think the France were too cool for romance? Well, there's a couple of sexy slow jams here that'll have you crossing - then uncrossing - your legs. There's a France for everybody here, and producer Chris Bishop has ensured that it all flows together in an acid-laced bowl of hunch punch. "Memorial Day" blew one of the speakers in my car. No joke. Fantastic Area will silence the haters. This is the France reborn. They're back on our side. - Flagpole Magazine

"Ice Age Review"

"Every day is a wasted day / If you don't listen to the France!"

So goes "Ice Age", before declaring "the year of Je Suis France". And why not? If Al Franken can dedicate a decade to himself, I guess we could all go along with a year named for a band that's having, by the sound of it, more fun than a barrel of Gauls.

Eight songs and about eight minutes long, this EP serves as a quick tour through the many moods of Je Suis France, most of which are pretty loud. Tracks like "Darkness has a Baby" are straight-up Dead Milkmen, while "Career Opportunities" is not, as might be expected, a cover of the Clash track. Instead, it's yelled-word high-school drug poetry over harmonized la-las and a two chord guitar riff. "Knoxville Knights", meanwhile, is a brilliant pop-rock riff that's over far too soon.

We previously took on Je Suis' eponymous debut, and based on that review, I can report that the band's quirks and eccentricities have been retained for this brief explosion of...stuff. There are short periods of kind-of boring material, like the pointless "Spaceships Won't Understand" that ends side A, but there's enough energy audible here for about four full-length albums. If the intended effect of Ice Age was to whet our appetites, mission accomplished. Bring on the second album, and vivre the France. - Splendid E-Zine


Je Suis France, 1999 Pitch-a-tent records
Ice Age EP, 2002 DC Baltimore 2012 records
Fantastic Area, 2003 Orange Twin Records
God's Cake EP, 2004 limited edition self-released
Tittania EP, 2004 limited edition self-released
Afrikan Majik, coming in 2005 Orange Twin Records

Fantastic Area and the self titled cd have recieved nationwide college radio airplay. both cds were promoted by Team Clermont and did fairly well on the CMJ Top 200. Tracks from these and the Ice Age EP have also gotten airplay on some internet music zine sites and internet radio stations.


Feeling a bit camera shy


Je Suis France is a six-piece rock band from Athens, Georgia. DJ Hammond and Ryan Martin (aka "The Darkness") met in high school in Atlanta. Once in college at the University of Georgia, they got together with Ryan Bergeron (aka "Iceberg"), Chris Rogers and Jeff Griggs (formerly of the Masters of the Hemisphere and the Mendoza Line) to form the France. Sean Rawls, also from the Masters of the Hemisphere, joined the band in 2003 after the Master's breakup. Their self-titled debut record was released on David Lowrey's Pitch-A-Tent records in 2000 and an 8 song 7" EP entitled "Ice Age" came out on DC/Baltimore2012 records in May of 2003. Their influences range from Gang of Four to Superchunk to Neu! to Spacemen 3 to Outkast. The France is currently working on the follow up to Fantastic Area, which should be out sometime in 2005.