7 Mar 2017

The Weight Of Melted Snow by French for Rabbits

From The Sampler, 7:30 pm on 7 March 2017
French For Rabbits

French For Rabbits: John Fitzgerald, Penelope Estlin, Brooke Singer, Hakurangi Schaverien-Kaa, Ben Lemi Photo: Supplied

Nick Bollinger checks out the second album from dream-pop quintet French For Rabbits.

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There’s a slight paradox at the heart of Wellington-based French For Rabbits. Over the five years since they formed they have become known for the delicacy and particular quietness of their music, which doesn’t mean they are unplugged. In fact it is due to that very quietness that they are perhaps even more dependent than most groups on amplification.

On The Weight Of Melted Snow, the group’s second album, it’s the voice of Brooke Singer that gets my attention first, which is odd because she might be the softest, least-assertive singer I’ve ever heard. The beauty of recorded sound is, of course, that that quietest of voices can be mixed right to the front of busy arrangements like these, so it commands your attention with the merest breath, while worlds of sound rise and fall behind it.

Over the last few years, French For Rabbits have grown from the simple duo of Brooke Singer and guitarist John Fitzgerald, to the current five-piece line-up, and that broader palette of sounds is put to good use in the most melodically and emotionally expansive songs Singer has presented so far.

There’s a true story at the heart of these songs, and it’s one that’s been sung many times before: the breakup of a relationship. Only this is a break-up album with a difference, in that the breakup Singer reflects on is that of her longstanding relationship with fellow French For Rabbits founder Fitzgerald. Displaying admirable maturity, they chose to continue writing and playing music together. Which might account for the lack of wrath, and abundance of level-headed reflection in these songs – though there’s no shortage of poignancy or poetry.

Songs featured: The Weight Of Melted Snow, Time Did Not, Dead Wood, One & Only, Birds Eye Point Of View, Days Shift.

The Weight Of Melted Snow is available on Home Alone.