Image credit: Laurent Vilarem
We finally know little about Frank Rabeyrolles. A discreet and unclassifiable character from the "new" French music scene, he stood out in 2004 with Life behind the window, the first album of his Double u project. His dreamy and hybrid music oscillates between pop, electronics and songwriting surprises and seduces. It hits the headlines, not to mention Les Inrockuptibles and Liberation, and is the album of the month in Trax. A prolific and insatiable artist, Frank Rabeyrolles persists and signs by releasing a solid succession of albums under Double u first then Franklin, a new alias which also reflects his need for perpetual change. His way of creating over the years, and decades now, could be seen as an aspiration to an artistic ritual driven by passion but also as an existential necessity… At the end of 2011, it was under his real name that Frank Rabeyrolles decided to release a new album and with it, a desire to bare himself a little more. Between Experimental Pop, Folk Lo fi, and Ambient, Frank never wanted or needed to choose. On the contrary, after having revealed in 2019 an openly Indie Pop project around the seasons, he delivered the following year a totally instrumental, stretched and hypnotic record, a mix of analogue synths, textures and sound entanglements, Materia Prima. Its sequel arrives in 2021 with A ghost by the sea, a disc that asserts itself Ambient and endowed with a melodic and contemplative obsession that has been a trademark since its inception.
It was at the end of this same year – prolific to be an understatement – that songwriting piqued him and he recorded as a trio, both live and in the studio, Boat Songs, a disc of bittersweet ballads, in chiaroscuro, built around clear and concise guitars and a pure, almost therapeutic voice. We find themes such as the fatality of an escape from the world, the relationship to time, versatile love, sometimes redeeming, sometimes alienating, leading to the loss of oneself.
This permanent tension to escape passing time, movement but also plenitude, and wide open spaces, constitutes the red thread of the music of Frank Rabeyrolles and also explains this Demon – in the Hubert Selby Jr sense of the term – of mutation. perpetual… that we will finally ceaselessly salute in all its incarnations. Boat songs despite their trappings are not a dark record. It lends itself to cultivating a learned and gentle schizophrenia between tenderness, sound roundness, echoes, spleen and hopes. Boat songs could even be considered as a road trip because the great Californian spaces and the psychedelic late sixties atmosphere are never far away…before that, you will have to be wary of the ocean.
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