The album cover is four band members dressed in retro clothing, sitting at a table and all facing the camera.

French Vanilla: How Am I Not Myself? Album Review

By Anthony Velasquez
Music Journalist

Artist: French Vanilla
Album: How Am I Not Myself?
Release Date: June 7, 2019
Website: https://frenchvanilla.bandcamp.com/

French Vanilla, currently signed to the non-conforming genre label, Danger Collective, was formed in the Los Angeles area in 2013 by singer Sally Spitz. Band members include singer Sally Spitz, bassist/guitarist Ali Day, drummer Greg Shilton and bassist/saxophonist Daniel Trautfield. They began their performing career by playing at various DIY spaces in the L.A. area. In 2017 they caught attention after releasing their self-titled album French Vanilla.  

The album is best known by its energy driven vocal melodies, held by its funky bass lines and fast paced tempo. Not to mention exploring their ideas of personal evolution, non conformity, female empowerment and social topics like track number six “Anti Aging Global Warming.” Track three,  “Evolution,” talks about shedding your skin of a friend who’s having a power struggle in between their ideal self and their real self. It ends with the acceptance that some friendships are illusions, as Spitz says, “Can’t waste any time on you It’s simply not the thing to do,” and knowing that gives you the power to move on and not waste precious time.

On June 7, French Vanilla dropped their sophomore album How Am I Not Myself?. The album is produced by Sean Cook, engineer on St. Vincent’s MASSEDUCTION. Track one, “Real or Not,” is introduced by simple drums, a groovy bass, followed by sax and then energetic vocals. After the song develops, you can get lost in a melodic game of tag/ call and response by vocalist Spitz and saxophonist Trautfield. “All the Time,” which was the first single released earlier this year, takes the album into a head bopping, sax driven dance mood. “Protective,” track five on the album, takes you to a breezy, post punk show on the beach. The last track, “Sensitive (Not Too Sensitive),” holds true to French Vanillas style: whimsical, experimental post punk, lyric driven,a splash of melancholy and descending vocal slides.

With an energetic 10-track list, this album is guaranteed to get you up and dancing wherever you are. There are so many ingredients that will make you want to put this album on repeat. All of which include the experienced post punk, pulsing experimental beats, jazzy rifts, high energy, occasional dance trance, self compelling lyrics, idea of self vs self and perhaps the most important ingredient, French Vanilla.

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