25-05-2024 Music 66

Frenchy and the Punk - Hypnotized

Frenchy and the Punk - Hypnotized

NYC post-punk duo Frenchy and the Punk present 'Hypnotized', a seductive dance floor romp and the first taste of their eighth album 'Midnight Garden'. Released via EA Recordings, this follows their critically-acclaimed 'Zen Ghost' LP and Siouxsie tribute 'Cities In Dust'.

This collection bursts with dance grooves, guitar-driven upbeat melodies and soaring vocals. Written in France and the USA, this post-punk, new wave and dark alternative-drenched cauldron of songs address themes ranging from the gothic reimagining of the garden of eden, rising from the ashes and starting over, to socio-political commentary,

Formed in 2005, Frenchy and the Punk is vocalist, percussionist and lyricist Samantha Stephenson and guitarist-composer Scott Helland, co-founder of Deep Wound (with Dinosaur Jr. icons J Mascis and Lou Barlow) and Outpatients. Named one of the Top 25 duos in the US by Yahoo! Music, they profess a vivid blend of post-punk, dark folk, new wave, goth and punk cabaret. Helland is also known for his exceptional solo music project Guitarmy of One.

On 'Midnight Garden', Stephenson hits her stride - lyrically, vocally and with the synth sounds peppering the album. Helland shows his knack for infectious, and often euphoric, guitar melodies, propelling these tracks and perfectly complementing Frenchy's vocals.

"Scott came up with the guitar riff for 'Hypnotized' back in 2017. We were staying in a hotel in Atlantic City in-between tour stops. The hotel dated back to the 1930s with beautiful art-deco style decor. It was completely deserted and had an eerie presence - it was definitely haunted. We stumbled upon a lounge area looking over the ocean with a grand piano and spent the afternoon, with the place to ourselves, playing and coming up with song ideas. I didn’t like any lyrics that I was coming up with for that particular riff and it got shelved," explains Samantha Stephenson.

"Once in a while, I’d go back to it but it wasn’t until this past January, seven years later, that it finally took shape. We went to an art opening where photographer and mixed media artist Alice Teeple was showing her ‘Solve Et Coagula’ exhibit. I was very drawn to a book she had created with photographs and French text that she told me was inspired by the French Hypnotist Jean-Martin Charcot and I ended up falling down the Charcot rabbit hole. We were in the middle of working on the new album and I was revisiting that guitar riff, and the hypnosis theme found its way into the song, fitting perfectly after all those years. The theme of hypnosis is a double-edged sword. In one respect, it’s something that feels peaceful and sensual; in another, it feels unnerving in its ability to placate and overpower into subjugation."
Drawing inspiration from post-punk legends like The Cure, the upbeat energy and percussive textures of Adam and the Ants, the bewitching mystique of Siouxsie and the Banshees, and the quirky charm of The B-52's, they have crafted a sound that is both nostalgic and refreshingly authentic delivered in an unorthodox way.

About 'Hypnotized, Scott Helland says, "The song sprung from the opening grungy bass line that I played with an electro-acoustic hybrid guitar through octave and distortion pedals. The groove pulses beneath Samantha’s soaring vocals and lets up occasionally to allow me to growl the word "Hypnotized". I love that it’s a confounding track in that it hypnotizes you to move. We love to work with contrasts".

Over the years, the duo has forged their own distinct path, touring across the US and Europe with their artful two-person powerhouse of sound. To date, they've performed with Dead Can Dance's Peter Ulrich and Dresden Dolls' Brian Viglione, Thomas Dolby, Dinosaur Jr., The World Inferno Friendship Society, Rasputina, Cruxshadows, Aurelio Voltaire and Faun.

'Hypnotized' is out now, available everywhere, including Apple Music, Spotify and Bandcamp. The 'Midnight Garden' album, which is now available for pre-order, will be released on vinyl, CD and digitally on June 28. 

The band kicks off their UK tour on May 21, when they play Bristol's Exchange with Miranda Sex Garden. American dates will follow in June. Tour tickets can be found online.

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