The Frenchmen

Sorry We Ruined Your Party

The drum intro is misleading: Purloined from the Surfaris’ 1963 smash hit “Wipe Out,” the tribal beat promises a Dick Dale-style hot-rod guitar wank. When the music starts, though, this disc, by Northern California’s Frenchmen, instead delivers nonstop pure-pop ebullience, the sort of thing you can sing in the shower, though you’ll lose track of the soap. Sure, the vocals are adenoidal, and although the songs are supremely tuneful, the singing, by former bassist (and SN&R writer and columnist) Amy Paris and guitarist Leon Levy, goes flat in all the right places, and some of the wrong ones, too. Instrumentally, this is pure bash ’n’ pop—with an emphasis on first takes recorded with a good room sound, some of them, in the Time Tested Books loft by top-notch instant record producer Chris Woodhouse. Neat, eh?