Dark desire

A little bit of torch, a dash a tin pan alley and a polychromatic splash of Nick Cave-style backroads goth, and perhaps we're starting to get close to what Danielle French is trying to do here. She processes her vocals into that slightly scratchy, slightly echoey territory that was well-worn by a wide swath of 50s vamps. Then she drops in her lushly-arranged songs, and the result is a sumptuous bed of pleasure.

Danielle French
Miss Scarlett and the Mad Men
The sound is familiar and enthrallingly unique all at once. French mixes her influences into a perky, doomy and thoroughly modern mixmash of Marty Robbins and Julie London. I've heard all of this before, but never presented with such presence and panache.

These are indeed dark love songs, but they are alluring and not depressing. This is not breakup music, but rather an album to play while getting out the leather and chains. Riding crop required, not optional.

The kink here is the mainstream production. French doesn't make her music sound weird. This is as straightforward and muscular a sound as will be heard on an album this year. French simply makes sure that her ideas bring the pleasurable little twists of pain.

It's been a long time since I've had such a rush of joy and fun. If you and your sweetie aren't exactly conventional lovers, French has your soundtrack. Just don't wake the kids.

Jon Worley

return to A&A home page