Strawberry Girls
French Ghetto


4.0
excellent

Review

by kevin234 USER (20 Reviews)
April 25th, 2013 | 102 replies


Release Date: 04/20/2013 | Tracklist

Review Summary: An effort from a band that, when at its best, is capable of creating some uniquely catchy songs with tremendous playback value.

Strawberry Girls have walked a fine line between being really ***ing cool and incredibly cheesy since their beginnings in early 2011. On one hand this power trio possesses the knack for writing fast-paced progressive jams similar to “The Fall of Troy” and on the other, a desire to make covers of Carly Rae Jepson’s “Call Me Maybe.” Call it what you want this is band eager to try new things (even though their lead guitarist has already released about a dozen full-length solo albums). French Ghetto marks the first full-length album by Zac Garren, Ben Rosett, and Ian Jennings and follow up to their 2011 EP Italian Ghosts- literally. The end of the EP flows seamlessly into French Ghetto’s opening track, “Aqua Verde”.

This album however, is hardly a continuation of the EP. For starters more than half the songs feature guest vocals, which is a stark contrast to almost every bit of material released by the band previously. There were no vocals at all on “Italian Ghost” save for a short-lived moment on “Little House in the Big Woods”. But here, on French Ghetto the vocals are all fantastic. Kathleen Delano make appearances on half of the tracks, usually belting her lungs out in the background, (think Clare Torry on Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon), but occasionally taking full control of a few carefully chosen moments such as on “Bird Technology pt II, in which she dominates. She is also an integral cog on the album’s second track, “Fight Club”.

“Fight Club” begins with the soft croons of Delano over a brilliant instrumental buildup by Garren, Rosett, and Jennings- a chief example of the band working cohesively without one member outshining the other and, as no surprise, is one of the album’s best moments. A climactic breakdown ensues followed by Shane Smit singing-

I wana love you ‘till the lovin’ is gone
Won’t go on, won’t go on, no I can’t go on like this

And it is damn catchy. The transformation this song undergoes -from a simple continuation of the “Italian Ghosts” sound to a well calculated, standout, track- exemplifies the artistic mastery this band is capable of.

But, as is perhaps a testament to the group’s youth, they fail to build off the truly excellent moments of this song. “Fight Club” transitions seamlessly into the album’s single, “Negro Spiritual”, which, when initially released, I found to be far more energetic and intense than anything the band had released. Constant tempo changes and abundant journeys up and down the fret board make this song a musical rollercoaster that can be enjoyable when heard on its own. No one could ever accuse this three-piece of holding anything back and this, unfortunately, proves to be a double-edged sword. Each song strives to be so loud and in-your-face that, when every track is paired together, the album lacks true climactic moments. There are simply too many frantic shifts, jarring transitions and not enough calmer soundscapes.

But perhaps it is unfair to ask a band that defines its sound as, “aggressively groovy instrumental”, to be “calmer”. Listeners need be advised: there are rarely moments to catch one’s breath. Regardless, there are many parts that of this album that command attention such as Nic Newsham’s “Transparent Sea” and Kurt Travis’s “Visual Therapy” at the end of the album that see Garren give up the spot light and join Rosett and Jennings in the background. In “Visual Therapy” Kurt Travis sings the catchy lines-

Instantaneous.
What do you got to lose?
Simultaneous.
Just me and you.

over some sexy guitar noodling by Garren. This moment makes for one of the album’s best because the guitar is not the center of attention and this is indicative of a band that, when at its best, is capable of creating some uniquely catchy songs with tremendous playback value.

French Ghetto is in no way perfect, but it also reveals far more than mere potential- the EP showed that. No, what we have here is an album that represents a band on the brink of writing a truly amazing album. Until that is delivered however, fans should be more than happy enjoying the journey this band takes in its pursuit of The Holy Grail of Groove.



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user ratings (91)
Chart.
4
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
Calc
April 24th 2013


12371 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

lots and lots of little things that could be touched up but pretty decent review.

I liked this release to, pretty groovy indeed.

foxblood
April 24th 2013


6797 Comments


oh yea zac garren is in this band, still need to hear

kevin234
April 24th 2013


238 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

@silentpotato

what's "peeps"




foxblood
April 24th 2013


6797 Comments


like the marshmallows duh

kevin234
April 25th 2013


238 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

does this read more like a 4?


elephantREVOLUTION
April 25th 2013


2791 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

dude their call me maybe cover is awesome

and so is this album

Calc
April 25th 2013


12371 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I just got the cd in the mail and it was sent directly from zac garrens apartment lol now I can stalk the shit out of him.

Shimana
April 26th 2013


544 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

may just be me, but the Kathleen chick sounds like lana del rey and sometimes rihanna

Digging: Maskarade - Light and Dark EP

ShitsofRain
May 3rd 2013


5956 Comments


this definitely needs more attention around here

Wolfhorde
May 4th 2013


13690 Comments


If I wouldn't have read about it the lack of "room to breathe" I wouldn't even have noticed it, oddly enough similar to Cakes Da Killa's mixtape. I dare say if executed properly that approach can work out pretty well - especially if you're on the verge of establishing yourself/refining your craft.

Digging: Vi Som Alskade Varandra Sa Mycket - Den sorgligaste musiken i varlden

ShitsofRain
May 17th 2013


5956 Comments


Zac Garren is in this band, so come on y'all

pepster50
May 22nd 2013


335 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

ya this is fuckin dope, might buy it

Calc
June 8th 2013


12371 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

lol at the price of this record now

http://strawberrygirls.bandcamp.com/

ShitsofRain
June 14th 2013


5956 Comments


Do you know what the definition for a Strawberry Girl is?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tAEH4Iw7YXU&feature=youtu.be

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
June 25th 2013


10383 Comments


Playing with these guys in late August! Stoked.

Digging: Thou - Heathen

ShitsofRain
June 26th 2013


5956 Comments


daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaamn, watch Zac going crazy!

mindhelix
August 3rd 2013


26 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This album is so good it makes me hyper. Going to have to update my top 2013 list pretty soon me thinks.

I looked into why the album is so expensive because I was shocked, and it is some political reason with the label. They just signed onto the label and they can't sell it until the label "re-releases it", whatever that means. If you check their facebook page and scroll down the comments a little you'll see the band trying to explain, but it still doesn't make sense to me.


Strawberry Girls performing Agua Verde:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WCwsf5MX0vc
The ending is a lot of fun

Cygnatti
August 8th 2013


22347 Comments


the opening riff and baseline of negro spiritual is exactly like talking heads' psycho killer. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yX6FsTIq6ls

I love it.

Digging: Jerry Lee Lewis - Live at the Star Club, Hamburg

tragic.details
August 8th 2013


626 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Great album, but what the fuck are they serious about that price on bandcamp?

Cygnatti
August 8th 2013


22347 Comments


100 fucking $$$

wow.



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