Big French have returned, following up their maverick 2013 debut LP Downtown Runnin with Stone Fish, a 16-track sophomore full-length that sees bandleader Quentin Moore’s energetic bursts of post-punk composition transformed by boutique, reel-to-reel production to fantastic ends, filtering established pop sensibilities through eclectic idioms of free-expression. On Stone Fish— the band’s third release for Wharf Cat Records— Moore shares co-production credits alongside longtime collaborator Zach Phillips (Blanche Blanche Blanche, OSR Tapes) and orchestrates electric performances from band members Colin White, Adam Steck, Jo Miller-Gamble, as well as a cameo appearance from Austin Julian (The Sediment Club, Sunk Heaven).
Assembled primarily from tracks recorded to tape at Phillip’s Manual FX Studio in Brooklyn circa 2015 / 2016, the sonic framework of Stone Fish swerves through the gamut of emotions while being united by kinetic arrangements of layered madness revolving around Moore’s instinctive, delicate vocal melodies and his asymmetrical guitar leads. Virtuosic grooving and free-improv rooted leads power the songs forward. Rocking hits like “I Wanna New Rome”, “Words Appear”, and “Rush Morgue” speed by, (nearly every cut is less than 3 minutes long) striking the listener with concise declarations, intended to both be familiar and at the same time to shock and to never resolve vis-a-vis the expected trope. Tracks the likes of “The Troll”, “Fly Like A Bird”, or “My Angel” gracefully deliver subdued melodic content over stream of consciousness harmonic turns. Throughout the record musical ideas jump in and out of focus redirecting the ever-changing cacophony of plucked guitars and jarring rhythms: Zach Phillips Wurlitzer might creep in with an enharmonic lick, reel-to-reel manipulation may distort the drums, sending a noisy crash through the channels. With multiple listens, Stone Fish revels itself as more detailed and exciting each time, existing as smart reorientation of the boundaries of pop music’s comfort zone.