Music » Livewire

French Kicks

With Houseguest. Wednesday, July 20, at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

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Demographically, these hip indie rockers are mostly indistinguishable from their dime-a-dozen New York peers. They're young and handsome, and dress like bright prep-school students on a weekend bender courtesy of their dads' credit cards. Musically, the French Kicks are a slightly different breed.

Rather than doling out the same scratchy guitar strums and diffident-sounding mumbles on The Trial of the Century, the band's excellent 2004 full-length, the Kicks give old-fashioned garage rock a spritz of refreshing (if equally old-fashioned) blue-eyed soul. Frontman Nick Stumpf actually bothers with the act of singing, working his falsetto more bravely than the guy in the Bravery; drummer Aaron Thurston leans on his high-hat more liberally than the guy in Spoon; Josh Wise plays his guitar like a keyboard and his keyboard like a guitar, raising the question of how old is too old to be the illegitimate love child of Ric Ocasek? At the moment they're busy writing and demoing for a new album they expect to record this fall; show up tonight and you might get a peek at where they're heading.

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