While its N.Y.C. contemporaries pose for fashion spreads (Karen O), take several years off between records (the Strokes), or contract communicable diseases (Interpol), French Kicks quietly soldiers on. Over the past decade, the quartet has borrowed a few tricks from its homeys: Interpol's shady restlessness, Liars' genre-shifting, even a plinky upright piano that sounds like it was lifted straight out of a Walkmen tune. But French Kicks can impress on its own terms, mixing garage, neo-soul, and post-punk on the new Swimming. Tourmates Frightened Rabbit, who hail from Glasgow, revel in adding sonic curios to Futureheads-style guitar templates. Scott Hutchison's puerile lyrics are cringe-worthy, but there's enough indie-rock ambition to please music fans who've grown tired of Scotland's recent blah offerings.
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