“French for Peanut”
All Things Ordinary
“French for Peanut,” by Buffalo trio La Cacahouette, would likely be described by many music commentators, at least in part, as “progressive.”
But what is progressive? Often it refers to virtuosic playing and long, labyrinth-like compositions with grand themes — all of which is mostly true with La Cacahouette. But how they’re really progressive is the way they can make their music so varied without having it lose its way. “French for Peanut” has so many elements, layers and feelings to parse, you pick up on something new every time you listen to it. It’s music you can get emotionally vested in and not feel cheated afterwards.
Powerful production values help, too. Blake “Spoonman” Ellman fuels every song with cavernous drumming, particularly his four-armed performance on “Fiction Teeth.” Tracks like “No Time to Rock” convey an uncanny depth, this one combining a simple, stately piano line with riffing guitar, blanketing synths and Ellman’s visceral thunder for a propulsion that belies its title. “Brain Chips” can best be described as a series of tempered explosions, complete with ethereal forces and watery textures. The flight-fingered rave-up in the middle of “You Done Me Wrong, Willie” offers the best of Mars Volta and Explosions in the Sky.
In a world of pre-packaged music and cautious, market-tested product, “French for Peanut” stands out. It’s altogether too sonically heavy for the average person, which means it’ll probably be an overlooked gem that inspires some of the future’s creative geniuses and eventually earns its rightful title as a cult classic. Rather than wait for that to happen, listen to it now and remember why you gave a damn about music in the first place.