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Disjointed dramatic
pop from Harvard grads

Chester French - Love The Future
(Star Track / Interscope Records)
2 stars (out of 5 stars)
Reviewed: April 28, 2009
Chester French

Review by Tony Bonyata

Even before their debut album was recently released, the rock duo of Chester French (consisting of Harvard alums Max Drummey and D.A. Wallach, the latter also a Milwaukee native) seems to be the latest product of the media's hype machine. Rolling Stone cited them as one of their "Artists To Watch" last month, while other magazines such as Vogue, Nylon, Vanity Fair, Details, GQ and others have been foaming at the mouth over them.

Of course, judging from these aforementioned publications (many that are driven more by fads, fashions and glitterati than music), it appears that these two comely young Harvardites may be getting ink more for their looks than their music.

Which brings us to the duo's full-length debut effort, Love The Future. While filled with its share of snappy little pop numbers ("Neal," "The Jimmy Choos," "Time To Unwind" and "C'Mon (On My Own)"), many of the melodies and song structures sound preprocessed, homogenized and devoid of their own voice. Rather than try to rework the pop idiom into something new, they instead trounce out these safe numbers and intersperse them with out of place classical string interludes, theatrical overkill and even a maudlin hodge-podge of ambient noise, weird folk and thespian prattle on the track "Country Interlude." What was probably meant as a broad palette of different styles, the end result ultimately comes off sounding disjointed, forced and confused.

If Chester French truly 'love the future' as the title implies, they should stick to working on their pop chops (along the lines of the two numbers that do work here - the sinewy "Bebee Buell" and the punchy "She Loves Everybody") and forget about trying to be Cheap Trick at the Lyric Opera of Chicago.

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