“Youth comes but once in a lifetime” – American poet, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.
South Wales indie/alt four-piece, French Alps Tiger, have made themselves known to the world in the form of their debut single, Tell a Lie. The band set out to create music that, in their own words, “reminds them of being kids”. With that mission statement in mind, they have delivered exactly that on their first outing. Imagine the video for 1979 by The Smashing Pumpkins. Cool kids, summer frolics, wild house parties, a real sense of “the best times of our lives”, that sort of “get away with it because we’re kids” vibe – all of that is evoked in the sound of this single.
Kicking things off with a reverberated chuckle, the mood is set for a lighthearted romp. What follows is a three-minute indie jaunt, borrowing from the simplistic foundations of the Pixies and Yuck. The bass is laying down a thick, solid backbone, and the guitars are jangling away at so few chords, you could count them on one hand. The vocals are crisp, but with subtle distortion giving them that garage rock edge. All the ingredients are present to make exactly what the band wants: Raw, bare bones, simplistic indie with an alt-rock style, and it’s not trying to be anything but that.
“Had to tell a lie”, the main hook of the single, is a serious ear worm. It’s delivered over a punch of two chords, drums and a chorus so simplistic, you’d be forgiven for not realizing it even is a chorus. And it’s that simplicity that leaves me somewhat underwhelmed. Tell a Lie is never going to set the world on fire. There’s nothing present that really pushes French Alps Tigers to the top of the pile of bands going for this sound (and they’re a dime a dozen at the minute). It’s inoffensive and jovial, and it’s clear that they want things to be that way. It’s intentional, but it’s also predictable.
What French Alps Tiger have presented here is a jaunty first step into the UK indie scene. It does what a debut single needs to do. It clearly presents what the band is about, stating the kinds of emotions they want to evoke in a straightforward way. With the groundwork now laid out, it’s time to put the scaffolds up and develop upon what they already have. They have to prove what sets them apart from the common stock, something that this single falls short of doing.
Tell A Lie will be released on the 14th June through Phwoar & Peace. You can preview the track here.