When a band called The End of the World pens an album called French Exit, it's fairly obvious the folks behind it have the cessation of things squarely on their mind. Drummer/vocalist Stefan Marolachakis and guitarist Benjamin Smith named their second full-length recording after the not so polite term meaning "to leave without saying goodbye." It's a sour sort of sentiment for sure, but one that's draped over most of the narratives that inhabit the recording, nonetheless.
Right off the bat, French Exit treats listeners to a one-sided relationship about to go bump in the night. In his surprisingly rich rasp, Marolachakis sings "Don't run/Sit there on the banister/You should be the first thing that he sees" on "Jody". Seems the song's target, William, has been up to no good...and Jody's about to call him on it. You go girl. Later, more finality finds its' way into "I Don't Wanna Lose". Though it's a big and beefy clap along, it's the chorus line "Waiting around is the only way to lose" which is most apparent. Here's guessing our lyricist is referring to letting the non-interested, object of one's affection go.
Of course French Exit doesn't merely rail against personal relationships. The End of the World touch on a bit of day to day life with their songs as well. Take the precious little shimmy "Someone Else's Dollar", for example. Grinding against the twenty-something realities of working hard, scraping by, and barely making the rent, Marolachakis wonders, "All this waiting around only gets us down/Will this way of life ever end?" And on the slow turner "Learning", it's a general malaise that's come to take root. To the tune of weeping pedal steel, a rusty old harmonica, and a twirling guitar line that moves with the consistency of wind chimes in a subtle breeze, hope and optimism meets its' end with the line, "Sally drag your smile away/We don't need your shine today."
But cheer up boys, because French Exit does boast a bit of good news. Despite being a bit of a lyrical downer, The End of the World blaze a path that reminisces of some of the finer indie pop bands going. Delta Spirit, Spoon, The Walkmen; these serve as the most obvious touchstones to come to mind. So while The End of the World might be concerned with French Exits, here's hoping this album serves as successful introduction to the band instead. - David Pitz