Équipe De Foot – EP

4 out of 5

Label: (self-released)

Produced by: Benjamin Mandeau (engineered, mixed by)

Man, I live and die for guitar pop like this.

Équipe De Foot – guitar; drums. Sometimes that’s all you need. That doesn’t tell you what’s what, of course, because that could be Lightning Bolt insanity or acoustic folk, and yet, that setup tends to conjure up thoughts – for me – of White Stripes rock simplicity. Now I’m not especially a fan of White Stripes, but that concept does appeal to me, boiling tracks down to hooks and a beat, played and sung with gusto, and EdF are a particularly catchy iteration of that, given a much more indie vibe than Jack White’s shtick, and then shot through with a bit of punky energy as well. The result, on this EP, is 6 tracks that are always immediate in their riffage, mixed with harmonies in mind, but played with a note of experimentation that allows the duo to add to their hooks in some fun ways, or completely break out in a surprising direction on a bridge.

Michaël Martin’s vocals may not be especially engaging on their own, but layered and gang-vocaled, they’re delightful, an producer Benjamin Mandeau seems to understand the dynamic, burying Martin’s sing-song in the middle of the mix, beneath the wash of guitar distortion and the booming drums. The duo’s pop leanings are then also balanced out by moments of volume; not freakouts or showy solos, just bits where we hit chords harder, or break out from a 4/4 beat for something off-timed. Occasional flourishes of keys or whatnot are the icing on this, and the sequencing on the EP smartly shifts between toe-tappers and slightly more punky affairs.

Lyrically, we’re generally stuck in generic relationship-musings mode, although some tracks do have some selectively intriguing and interesting imagery that makes the words worth a peruse.

But ultimately, it’s about how all of this stuff works together for making catchy music, and it’s clear from as soon as the beat and guitar start working on the opening track that Équipe De Foot know they have a strength for exactly that – catchiness – and they work wonders in that vein for the EP’s 6 tracks.