Skip to Content Skip to Navigation

French Possession: Reviews

French Possession are at once fresh and nostalgic -- one of the more promising artists I've heard in a long time ... I really like what these guys are doing and look forward to hearing their music break through in this very difficult and capricious music marketplace.
Nothing Else Applies reminds me of the sounds of Don Henley, who I happen to love. There is a story to tell and you know it is going to be an epic. Creative and appealing to everyone, this song’s sinking sleek instruments move this story along from beginning to end. This song proves that French Possession is a tight group of individuals who will be a true voice for this generation and the ones to come.

The Courtney of Ballantry strikes an emotionally rich chord that brings about flooding memories of perfect summer days wasting away and playing on playgrounds, woods and streams that are now overcome with pollution, trash, and toxic waste. It is sad and depressing to see what we as humans have done to our once treasured playgrounds of Eden . This song encapsulates these things. Overall, I find this tune to be strong and boisterous in emotion with its bluntness and honesty. The simplistic style and lyrics make it a song for the masses.

Bringing forth a new voice, Ginny contains a brighter sound that emerges quickly. I like the funky, classy swing of the melody. The classic piano, which has been the forefront of the band, along with the voices, make this song sound more like old-school soul that could be found in a New York jazz club. The variety of other instruments seals the deal going into the second verse. Again, nice harmonies all around provide a stage for the sultry lead female’s voice that is hard to forget.
French Possession ‘nothing else applies’ (matchbox). Sun soaked country pop with its tingle dial cranked up to full melting beneath swoon factored honey glazed moments of shyly stirring melodies that swirl sumptuously between tenderly introspective melancholia (‘nothing else applies’), triumphant music hall barracking relocated to a campfire side setting ('the courtneys of ballantry’) and sheer fuzzy felt laced doey eyed chic vibes (’Ginny’). Listening to French Possessions debut triple A sided platter you’d be understandable forgiven for suspecting that these youngsters didn’t own a radio or for that matter paid any attention to the media for their sounds are carved in the rich tapestry of classically shrouded pop that seems a far and distant cry from today’s hectic come day gone day hustle and bustle. ’nothing else applies’ lilts and caresses with the same warming low centre of gravity buzz that flickered through REM’s ’automatic for the people’ as though phased through the mindset of the Go Betweens, boy / girl vocals, softly demurring breezily chiming guitars longingly braided with an arresting off kilter effervescence whose only intention is to delicately unlock your defences. Like a latter career Kinks ’the Courtneys of Ballantry’ is a touching barn styled music hall lump in the throat tear jerker that adopts in passing the coda from Mary Hopkins ’those were the days’ though in our humbled opinion the best of the set is the nuzzling upbeat ‘ginny’ which wraps up the debut. Possessing a sense of those classic Keith Waterhouse penned black and white socio - kitchen sink films from the 60’s a la ’billy liar’ et al, this honey is wrapped amid gently undulating piano motifs, casual carefree riff rambles and stately Beatles-esque string arrangements which all combine to make it an exquisite velvet lined slice of sumptuous smoothness. Essential type thing.
British bands playing country music are always going to be on dangerous ground but there's something about the kitchen sink nature of lead track 'Nothing Else Applies' which comes together to make a cool little pop song ... a little beauty and well worth a place on any discerning punter's ipod.
Andy Gynn - Tasty Fanzine (Jun 16, 2008)
Probably the most striking aspect of French Possession, and one that separates them from their peers, is lead singer Steve Jones’ resemblance to the late George Harrison is undeniable. Heck, with its sweet jangling guitars and warm harmonies, “Nothing Else Applies” could’ve been a Traveling Wilburys single, and “The Courtneys of Ballantry” has enough beautifully harmonic vocals to fill a couple of Beatles records.

“Ginny,” though, shifts the direction completely. It’s a delicious female-male duet with a trip-hop drum pattern. Lovely.
I came across this band while researching musical settings of Philip Larkin's poetry. (Lines and phrases from Larkin's masterpiece 'Aubade' underline the ending of the fourth track on the CD, 'Wear and tear'; and there's also a song called 'The long slide' - surely a reference to Larkin's 'High Windows'?) Of course I had to have it for my archive. Usually when I acquire a CD containing a song inspired by or relating to Larkin, I listen to it once or twice and file it away, but not this one.

The album has been on my car CD player ever since I got it. Five of the first six songs on the CD are outstanding, including 'Wear and tear' and 'The long slide'. When I first listened to the whole album I made the mistake of trying to categorize the music, but each time I tried, the next song swallowed my theory and spat it out. After a couple of plays I realized that even though the songs are distinct and varied ('Wear and tear': 21st Century offspring of New Order and the Pet Shop Boys (?); 'Foil for a girl in a posh frock': structurally, reminiscent of The Lover Speaks; 'The long slide': Nick Lowe brainstorming with George Harrison?), they all sound like French Possession. A significant achievement for a first album.

...Although, rather unexpectedly, I can't seem to get 'Deep in the long grass' out of my brain, my favourite song on the CD has to be 'Controlled emotion': a sparse and beautiful meditation on the quiet destruction relationships suffer when one party is rendered emotionally and psychologically impotent ('My problem is full-blown') by the apparent indifference of the other: 'The way you won't cry though love has died'. I can easily imagine this song being performed by any number of artists from Keane to Kylie, Tony Bennett to Tori Amos. The sign of a truly classic song.
James L Orwin - The Philip Larkin Society (Apr 1, 2006)
French Possession are dealing in fragile, melodic, borderline arty songs ... which inevitably have a memorable hook - a rare talent and one to be commended. A highly commendable debut.
Zeitgeist e-zine, Edinburgh - Celebrating all that is good in music and culture. (May 29, 2006)
Hear the Paul Simon school of subtlety, importance, and melody. One of the finest CDs we've heard this year. Undeniable musical artistry.
"Frail beauty" by French Possession is a lush sounding song with a great vocal track and pleasing melodies throughout ... A bit of Beatles-esque feel coupled perhaps with Flaming Lips. A unique talent is displayed.
(Four stars)
Olivier Meissner, President, FSM - Flight Safe Music