“In Tongues” – SW Reverb Review

Spoken-Poetry and Jazz Infused Rock? That Sounds French.

French Letters is no different than any other spoken-word, hip-hop, jazz infused, avante-guard rock five-piece … they’re all over the place. In a good way, that is. In Tongues destroys any and every genre barrier a record store owner could possibly throw at it, and the result is a 10-song franken-album of emotional-meets-snarky poetry and a big band.

The CD flows staggered and unexpected, which is a fun aural treat. “When it Mattered” starts it off with spoken poetry over a steady, thumping bass. It’s short, yet punchy, with enough attitude to radiate through every track. Then, as if the bass never dies out, “West Ashley Crosstown” begins with upstroke, jazz guitar and soft drum rolls.

“Fried Chicken” stands out as the true ace, combining all the aspects of In Tongues into one, miniature opus. Spoken poetry builds into aggressive, almost punkish rock that’s alive and exciting.

While it’s not likely to jump to the top of any charts, French Letters have crafted a truly unique album that’s musically and emotionally impressive. Plus, it’s poetry. That has to count for something.

JOE WILLIAMS, Seattle Weekly