Label: WIERD records Release date: 04/10/10 Link: Myspace Buy: Amazon Are you always the quiet, thoughtful one in a group? Do you own the entire Cure back catalogue? Does your vocal sound best slightly below the volume of any accompaniment? Do you have a borrowed nostalgia for the unremembered eighties? (apologies to James Murphy) Do you weigh less than 65 kg? If you answered yes to any or all of these questions then maybe you too can be a member of a wave. There are so many to choose from, New Wave, Post Wave, Chill Wave, No Wave, Dark Wave... Parisian duo Frank (Just Frank) (FJF) fit all of these requirements, and as such their debut album Brutal Wave, is a textbook example of the wave mentality. From the opening synths of 'Beneath', to the almost Kraftwerk closing of 'Collapse', this album is a clear homage to new wave and post punk bands of the late seventies/early eighties. The drum machines, nihilistic lyrics (“kill kill kill, kill kill kill”), and ever so slightly jangly guitars are so spot on it wouldn't be at all surprising to find a dusty copy of this in the back of your local Oxfam. This is both a good and bad thing: There's a great, rich and morose quality to the vocals, not dissimilar to Ian Curtis', and FJF clearly know their way around a synthesiser allowing them to demonstrate with 'Mr Itagaki' and 'Crisis' that miserable music can also be great dance music. The down side is that gothy eighties synth can be a bit dull after a while, and setting the vocal levels as low as they are here means there's often not that much to focus on, so my attention at least had a tendency to wander. Frank (Just Frank) clearly have the ability to deliver some excellent pop songs, and I'd recommend giving Brutal Wave a listen, especially if you're partial to a bit of Joy Division. I can't help but feel though that there's something lacking, and it might just be a sound of their own. Photobucket