Cartwheels - EP
The ever-industrious independent duo of Samantha Stephenson and Scott Helland tour about as frequently as Bob Dylan. In the process, old songs tighten and new songs become fan favorites before studio versions can be made. Having produced their past few albums with Gary Leavitt at his Young Love Studios in Brooklyn, Frenchy & The Punk found an engineer who brings out their best. It’s forced them to rethink older songs and encouraged grander ideas for their new tunes. The spare “Halloween for Christmas” demands that the October holiday be given lead status over the overhyped Christmas season. The acoustic, Celtic-tinged and sweetly subdued “Mulina Mulina” explores the connection between the elements and emotions that govern the earth in line with faerie folklore. A guest accordionist augments the festive atmosphere of the French-sung live staple “Le Train,” where the Eastern European cabaret arrangement reflects the persistent longing of dreamers. “Caravan” is among their best-known, long-serving live numbers. Cartwheels is a necessary addition to their catalog.