French Monkey Wrench recently produced a single, “African James Bond”, with his friend and colleague Rebel ACA (Anti-clockwise Attitude). French is, well, French and Rebel ACA is English. Their music is a look at life from the eyes of an Englishman and the ears of a Frenchman. Released on 24 November 2017, “African James Bond” is a song meant to send good cheers to a friend in need and one as suave as James Bond.
“It’s a song about a friend of ours that suffered with depression”, Rebel and French say. “We have worked with him on a previous project and he is a very talented musician, but for various reason he lost his way. It was a song to cheer them up…and say – hey! Don’t be so sad…He is a James Bond type character – a seriously cool dude.”
The pair are a bizarre melange of British Hip Hop and a deep French vintage sound, but one that’s a delectable treat to the ears. Lyrically, their song is quite simple and straightforward which pulls you to listen for the meaning behind the song. French did a marvellous job producing the sound and it truly is pleasant to hear. The music is reminiscent of French jazz, British pop and hip hop, ancient Chinese instrumentation, a drummer boy’s solo in a marching band, and 1970s style rhythm variations. It is a musical kaleidoscope, an eclectic mix of sound meant to also represent James Bond, which leaves you grooving long after the song is over.
However, despite its intention to be sentimental it is a disappointment on the emotional scale. There is no depth to the words. Rather, the verses are a series of complaints (with some improvements in the second verse) and the chorus itself is catchy, but only points out the obvious, “You’ve lost your song / I’ve lost a friend / Yeah we’ve been through it all / Now you don’t call”. At the bridge the lyrics finally convey the meaning behind the song and that creates the emotional connection, but just like a dropped call the connection is cut loose when the chorus returns.
In the end, the song didn’t help the friend much, but it was a sweet and kind gesture nonetheless – one deserving a tip of the hat, a nod, and a wink. Furthermore, it wasn’t the best choice for an introduction to their upcoming album, Sunday’s Cool. A little more thought to the layout of the song and emotion they wanted to convey would have showcased their desire to touch the audience and, perhaps, strengthen their hold on the music scene. For instance, the chorus should have been where they communicated that their friend is strong and he will pull out of the depression. Instead, it conveyed the result of the depression. On the other hand, the musicality is exquisite. It truly is an audio interpretation of the many reasons that this friend went into depression and an upbeat expression of their desire to cheer him on. One can only hope that the other tracks will combine the music with more meticulous attention to the lyrical and emotional presentation.
Enjoy the music!