It’s always been possible to dance to Freedom Fry’s music, but their new release forces you to dance. The French and American duo’s latest EP, Strange Attraction, doesn’t quite fit into the alt-folk label of their past EPs. Instead, it delves straight into indie-pop, full of electronics and funky guitars. LA-based Freedom Fry is made up of married couple Marie Seyrat and Bruce Driscoll. Their songs have been licensed for many TV shows and ads and with this album being so catchy, there’s no doubt that these four songs will soon be on a TV near you.
“Strange Attraction” is about being “in love with everything and everyone.” In a gender-bending twist, the vocals transition seamlessly (sometimes mid-line) between Driscoll and Seyrat, signaling a gender fluidity that fits the lyrics perfectly. It’s a great detail in a well-crafted song, not something you would necessarily expect from a band called Freedom Fry (hands up if you assumed they were a pop-punk band formed in 2003 based solely on their name.)
“Party Down” is funky and includes more guitar and bass than the others – it’s got a little Nile Rodgers flair. It also sounds a lot like 2012 Passion Pit. “The Words” is a great opener: it’s catchy and the shared lead vocals work really well. Driscoll and Seyrat purr “do you love me?” in unison over bouncy beats that bring to mind a Mediterranean island. “Adios Amigos” is a bit of an outlier, it’s almost a little creepy. Maybe it’s the whistling, the quick guitar, the falsetto vocals… something just comes off as either creepy or drug-fueled. It’s a neat song, but I feel like a villain is plotting something in the wild west to this song.
Each of the songs appears on the EP with vocals and as an instrumental version. The instrumental versions really highlight how much the vocals are bringing to the songs. You do get to appreciate the details you might have missed when you were distracted by the vocals (I barely noticed the guitar on “The Words” because of the whispery purrs of the vocals,) but they distract you for good reason. Sure, the instrumentals provide visions of Mediterranean islands or the wild west and include some nice details, but they don’t tell a story on their own.
By the way, kudos to this duo for being the first thing that comes up in a Google search of “freedom fry.” They still haven’t taken over the plural on searches, but there may come a day when Google suggests it to searchers instead of French-American relations circa 2003.