Francois Marry by Jenny Lloyd
It’s not just because my cat is called Francois. This French musician is très bon. Francois Marry, aka Francois and The Atlas Mountains, is a songwriter, musician, animator and artist from Saintes, which is a small town off the west coast of France. Lighthearted and friendly, Francois is extremely pleasant to listen to when you’re driving somewhere alone. Or indeed, when you’re cooking. Not that I’d ever dictate to you!
Francois moved to the UK at 19. To Bristol in-fact. Ever the artiste, he drew a picture and put a note up in a window, both announcing his arrival, and asking people to make music with him. Trawling the car boot sales, he found his instruments and started to play small shows. His endearing personality and actions got him quickly involved in the Bristol scene and he assembled a group of players; The Atlas Mountains. They include Rozi Plain, who I saw play with and support This Is The Kit, and possesses a gorgeously wholesome, free spirited voice. Since Francois’s local loving and successes, he has been traveling around… playing, drawing and singing.
As his animations stand next to and hold trees, moving the background of the myspace page, and Be Water (je suis de l’eau) streams out, you get a sense of French humour. As seen in many of the country’s films, such as The Girl Cut in Two, Priceless and The Beat That My Heart Skipped. A little bit of a slapstick chuckle.
However that’s not to say Francois doesn’t hold the other famous French attribute of sensitive LOVE – of course like in the aforementioned films. Night Lights and Remind displays this delicacy perfectly. With two voices singing, it is so tender. Tour de France too, although I don’t understand French (oh how I wish I did), to me, is a scene set in Paris, with a French lover driving from the city to the countryside of chateau’s etc. In a tiny car.
Francois and The Atlas Mountains have a total lack of pretentiousness, their guitars simply strumming and Francois’ tone, trustworthy in its lack of change. Sometimes the words don’t seem to fit the notes, but it comes off as beautifully haphazard. Their latest album Plaine Inondable, released in 2009 by Fence Records, follows the faithful, friendly vibe. The recordings took place partly in Charente-Maritime and partly in the Basques Country and includes a whole track of vocal harmony, Nights = Days. Although a mixture of English and French, the entire album sounds distinctly like an ambling along Frenchman with the jumpy, instruments like backing singers, and his revealing accent. Moitiee is so beautiful, thoughtful and melodramatic. And guitar focused French and English mixed Pic-nic is honest and sad; “and we’ll never go out for picnic anymore”, whilst the chorus style singing Do You Do, is splendid. So incredibly cute.
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