Album Review: The French Semester


French Semester -‘Good Friends Only I Could See’ (Self-released)

This sophomore release is absolutely gorgeous. On the basis of two tracks ‘My Old Hands’ and ‘Backwards Rolling’ I fell hard and fast for this band. They sent me the CD from LA, and it’s set to become one of the albums of the year. ‘Indie pop’ and ‘Psychedelic indie’ are phrases that are banded around so casually across the blogosphere that they threaten to lose their meaning at times.

But not here. This album is lean -ten tracks in thirty minutes, and it does not disappoint, or waste any space. Influences include Syd Barrett and Guided By Voices. Like those two acts, THe French Semester can write pop songs that are experimental, and show that the two do not have to be worlds apart.

In a world of indie by numbers, and where people feel that mining 1982 is the closest we can get to innovation in 2009, the French Semester might seem to be out there on their own. They’re not. They’re leading the pack, kickstarting the assault. If you liked The shins -irrespective of whether or not you heard them through Garden State, you will love the French Semester.

And that’s a promise.


French Semester -‘Backwards Rolling.’ mp3

French Semester -‘My Old Hands.’ mp3

Good Friends Only I Could See is out now.

Presenting…The French Semester


There seems to be something in the water. 2009 is the year it all sounds like 1982, right? At least, that was the theory, in oh, january at least. So, are you into electro-pop or old-school indie? It’s time to decide whose sides you’re on, comrade!

Last year, the Frech Semester released their acclaimed debut Open Letter To The Disappeared. Less than a year later, their sophomore release, Good Friends Only I Could See (look at the above image very carefully!) is about to hit us.

It’s wonderful low-fi indie pop meets shoegaze meets Britpop meets the Shins and The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart. What the date again? (It’s so dark in here) 1982 or twenty years on?* There’s an excellent piece on them here with some tracks from their first album.

I think I’ve fallen in love. With a pop group. Again…Sigh

French Semester -‘Backwards Rolling.’ mp3

French Semester -‘My Old Hands.’ mp3

The French Semester’s website/The French Semester’s Myspace
* With apologies to Simon Puxley and Roxy Music