From the movie Little Big Man
Old Lodge Skins: Am I still in this world?
Jack Crabb: Yes, Grandfather.
Old Lodge Skins: [groans] I was afraid of that. Well, sometimes the magic works. Sometimes, it doesn’t.
–Little Big Man
Sometimes the magic works, and sometimes it doesn’t. That applies equally well to writing blogs about music. Sometimes the magic happens, and the blog almost writes itself. Sometimes the magic doesn’t happen, and I sit staring at a blank page. It matters not as to whether I like the music or not. I quite imagine that applies to making music as well. Sometimes the magic happens, and sometimes, it doesn’t. I am happy to tell you that the magic happens on a new Frenchy and the Punk release, Zen Ghost.
Old Lodge Skins asked, “Am I still in this world?”
Frenchy and The Punk counter with, “I promise to tell you if the world doesn’t end,” a line from the song ‘If The World Doesn’t End First‘ by Frenchy and The Punk from their new album Zen Ghost
Frenchy and the Punk is vocalist, percussionist and lyricist Samantha Stephenson and guitarist-composer Scott Helland, co-founder and bassist of Outpatients and Deep Wound (along with Dinosaur Jr. founders J Mascis and Lou Barlow). Samantha Stephenson has a strong husk voice reminiscent of Grace Slick, who is interestingly not listed as an influencer. They do list the B52s, and I can certainly hear that.
“We started writing Zen Ghost at the end of 2020 and have a few tracks that were written as recently as Spring 2022. It highlights the darker tones of what we do and is influenced by the environment in which we all live in at the moment,” says Samantha Stephens.
“The core theme to the album is ‘mind phantoms,’ the ghosts of our past that reside in our minds and can influence our present. The theme of breaking the chains of life choices that don’t align with one’s true authentic self has been rampant in the lyrics throughout the years. This record delves into the remnants of the voices and experiences that can still haunt us. This is the album we’ve always wanted to make.”
The character that Dustin Hoffman portrays in the movie Little Big Man, Jack Crabb, struggles throughout the story arc with his authentic self. I’m not sure if he had mind phantoms, but I can emphatically state that I have and do; the ghosts are real.
Zen Ghost is a solid album that explores the darkness of the age that we live in without falling into the morass. Old Lodge Skins asked, “Am I still in this world?” Frenchy and The Punk counter with the line, “I love you, I love you to the ends of the earth, I promise to tell you if the world doesn’t end.”
Frenchy and The Punk have put together an album full of good music. A stand out for me has been the track Church of Sound, with the lyrics, “I’m going to the church of sound, put on my headphones and drown drown, drown in the sound.” I love that line, “I’m going to the church of sound.” I didn’t go to a brick-and-mortar church today, it is Sunday as I write this, but I have been in the church of sound.
The track Blood offers some good political commentary. “I don’t want to see the world through your little microscope tunnel vision.” A jab at the people living in their echo chambers and only hearing or seeing what they already believe.
Zen Ghost is musically enchanting, with intelligent lyrics that can be gleaned more than once for the gems hidden in the songs.” Sometimes the magic works. Sometimes, it doesn’t.” The magic works for Frenchy and the Punk. They have created an album encouraging me to put on my headphones and drown in the sound.
NYC-based postpunk duo Frenchy and the Punk present their new Zen Ghost album. Their seventh long-player record, released via the EA Recordings label following the high-energy lead single ‘Mon Souvenir’ and Siouxsie-esque single ‘Come In and Play.’
‘Zen Ghost’ CD https://batfrogs.com/product/zen-ghost-cd
‘Come in and Play’ https://youtu.be/DcierLOU_WM
Mon Souvenir’ https://youtu.be/3UlLC57AHsQ