French Style Furs | Is Exotic Bait | Review

Article Contributed by Ben Welp | Published on Sunday, May 11, 2014

"Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time." - Thomas Merton

The first album from French Style Furs, "Is Exotic Bait," is an existential collaboration. Nathan Willett and Matt Maust of Cold War Kids came together with lifelong friend and We Barbarians drummer Nathan Warkentin to document a spontaneous urgency to lose themselves and, in the process, find themselves.

While recording in NYC Nathan Willett came equipped with a book of poems written by Thomas Merton. Willet's fascination with the 20th century Trappist monk who wrote on social justice, pacifism, and Eastern Religion led the band to use these poems as the lyrics for the album. This decision influenced the direction of the album and gave the members a chance to explore musically as well as spiritually.

Willett's signature voice gives this album the first impressions of a new Cold War Kids release. However, the feel of these songs framed by percussionist Stephen Hodges (Tom Waits, David Lynch) and vocals from Haley Dekle (Dirty Projectors) is unique unto itself. The track “Solitary Life" bounces around a bass line that bends into the outright culmination of all these musician's satisfying their creative urges. French Style Furs' Is Exotic Bait is the product of a band that is working hard to lose themselves and, in the process, find themselves.