A stutter step is a beautiful thing in basketball. Not so much in pop music. Not even in experimental pop. Drummer Aaron Thurston does a funny little skip in the chorus of "So Far We Are," the opening track and first single on Two Thousand. For a second there it sounds like the record got stuck, except this is a CD and CDs don't do that. It throws off the listener just enough to make her notice, "Hey, the drummer did a funny little skip there!" But this is experimental pop, remember? And Thurston's hiccup neatly covers the experimental part of that label. Thankfully, the rest of the album focuses on the pop part, but not just standard three-minute, radio-ready tunes. The group (founder Nick Stumpf on lead vocals and keyboards, Josh Wise on guitar and vocals, Aaron Thurston on drums, and Lawrence Stumpf on bass) flirts with various influences throughout Two Thousand, going slightly rock on "Keep It Amazed," then featuring an almost folksy acoustic guitar for "No Mean Time" and eventually moving into a bit of soft-core metal on "Let You Recover." Overall, the album is a cohesive, polished effort. But about that drum on "So Far We Are"... French Kicks appear Friday, September 22, at Walter's on Washington, 4215 Washington Avenue. Call 713-862-2513 for more information.
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