By: Graham Villaneaux
Before I begin, it’s necessary to note that I am extremely new to Gainesville, and I have rarely visited in the past. Most of what I know pertaining to the scene is hazy recollections of drunken weekends and outlandish FEST stories, so I was naturally pretty stoked to get out there and scope the scene. Much to my luck, very soon after getting settled, a friend of mine called me up and informed me that he’d be having an album release on Sept. 10. Eager to explore what musical madness Gainesville contains and equally as excited to give my support to an old friend, I made my way to The Backyard at Boca Fiesta & Palomino to take it all in.
The band in question is Rosemary Kennedy with their album “French Exit.” This album is a solid example of melancholic nostalgia and that deep heavy feeling when you’ve realized you’ve lost something extremely important. They were, at the same time, not what I expected and everything I was looking for rolled up into one loud, dirty, emotional package. Even when these guys get loud — the guitar retains a somewhat sad and lonely tone that’s reminiscent of quiet days steeped in melancholic contentment. The bass pops right along underneath this, as if to remind you that everything’s still okay.
Haunting keys are a common theme with the band, floating above everything and sparkling on the caps of the guitar’s sound waves. However, right at the forefront stand some of the most dynamic vocals I’ve heard in a long time, from the soft silky croon of ‘Choke,’ to the no holds screams featured on ‘Place/Time.’ The album itself builds through songs such as these, as ‘Place/Time’ is a chuggy floor tom and palm mute laden build up to what is a perfect peak to a roller coaster of an album, ‘It’s Your Red Hair.’ This beautiful introversion into the collective minds of these talented musicians comes to a fitting close with the album’s namesake, ‘French Exit.’ The piece brings all of it together using ideas and emotions from the rest of the album to draw the curtain on this melancholic art show.
Links and credits:
Released Sept. 10, 2016, “French Exit” was written, recorded and produced by Charlie Chopshop and Rosemary Kennedy. The album was master by Gerry King at Skylab Studios and the artwork was done by Anthony Grasso.