...in which I pay for my past transgressions - and am rewarded - by not expecting a white version of Pharrell... whatever that might be...
So my first experience with Chester French was via their guest appearance on Common's Universal Mind Control. And in the same way that UMC made me fearful for what's left of Common's music career, their guest appearance likewise made me fearful that Chester French's debut would be horrifyingly trendy and bad.
I then went on to take a bit of a dump on their Clinton Sparks mixtape Jacques Jams, Vol. 1, which actually prompted a response from Chester French member D.A. Wallach... after which, I rightly felt like kind of an asshole. But I think they were really sort of straining for hip-hop credibility on that tape, whereas with Love the Future they are tossing aside any sort of desire to emulate hip-hop and do their own thing.
And once again, I'm downing a large bottle of my own humble-pie-flavored Haterade, because Love the Future has me drawing Beatles comparisons. For real.
Now I'm not saying that Love the Future is the next Sgt. Pepper, but I can't help thinking of the Fab Four sitting around brainstorming up ways to completely eschew what was going on in the current pop music scene and do their own thing when I listen to several of the album's songs.
D.A. Wallach and Max Drummey - the two New Englanders who comprise Chester French - combine the pop sense of the Neptunes with the cheekiness of piano-man Ben Folds and add occasional touches of, well, whatever the fuck they want.
"Fingers" transforms from orchestral chamber pop to a mutant country shuffle; "Time to Unwind" wouldn't sound out of place on a '50s jukebox... until the dubby, voxed-out coda at the end, and "Country Interlude" could be straight out of the White Album, a five-minute suite that goes from washing guitar distortion to xylophones and empty harmonies before giving way to a spacey, squirming ending.
Much of the album is devoted to infatuation, love and relationships, and the lyrics run the intellectual gamut from "The fingers of your mind have wrapped around my spine and made me feel so blind" to "Oh no I never been to LA/I never hung out with so many nuts/They said that they're the drunk and hot girls/But I'm not tryin' to mess with no sluts," but it's hard to hate on an album where a white guy is singing, "You're so fresh/You're fresh to death."
Wallach said in his comment that he hoped Love the Future would win me over. It did.