EP Review – My Favourite Distraction – The Francine Odysseys (2021) (Self released)

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The Francine Odysseys are a Los Angeles based duo, consisting of Gretchen DeVault (vocals, rhythm guitar, keyboards) who is also well known for her work with The Icicles, Voluptuous Panic and most recently Churchill Garden) and Ian Patrick ( vocals, lead guitar, bass guitar, keyboards, drums, percussion).
Essentially, theirs is a sound that I would loosely term as ’30 something indie’, as My Favourite Distraction cavorts with the youthful side of indie, but always manages to imbue an almost incidental sense of maturity.
Perhaps this is evoked by the subtle juxtaposition of jangly guitars, semi driven percussion and DeVaults‘ gorgeous, wistful, semi disinterested vocals that are reminiscent of the mid 90’s Britpop chantesuses, which threaten to mask a subject matter detailing the sort of adult angst that we all have to endure, when we see the last remnants of our youth flush away.
As such we see the opening Before You coursing salacious levels of jangling chime around lyrics that hint at the pain of true love and the futility of the entirety of the ‘love game’, as seen in carefully crafted lyrics like:
 
Try to keep you at a distance
Channel all my fears into resistance
But no matter what the instance
I just can’t shake our coexistence
 
And similarly in the ode to the ‘it never works the second time’ adage, that is seen in Past and Present:
 
It’s easy to fall into the past
We’re all just creatures of comfort
But you can’t see me for who I am
When you know me as someone else
 
Of course the musical trick of hiding nasty little stories in the most beautiful of sounds has been done to a death. However, the beauty of DeVault’s songwriting is that the subject matter is not ignoble enough to be considered nasty. Her stories are just the everyday pains we experience in adult life.
No flouncey, youthful extravangances, just matter of fact portrayals that we can all relate to, accomodated in the sort of slightly dreamy, always jangly and sometimes Britpop musical cadences that those of a certain age ‘just get’.
Another wonder musical project from the permanently indie-chic, musical world of Gretchen DeVault !!!
 

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