Formed in 2017, Rural France is the duo of Tom Brown and Rob Fawkes, who formed after the pair re-located from the hubbub of London to the green climes of my home county of Wiltshire. Back in 2018, they released their debut album, Two Drink Maximum, which they followed a year later with the EP, Damp Spirit. Approaching writing a new album, the pair decided to forego the studio for the freedom of recording in Rob’s garage, embracing the Guided By Voices ethos of, “if it sounds good it is good”. The result is their new album, RF, released next month via Meritorio Records, and today the band are sharing the latest single from it, Sling Yr Hook.
Much of RF was written back in the heatwave of 2018, in Tom’s words, “spurred on by Beach Boys bootlegs and a World Cup”, and Sling Yr Hook certainly seems to capture some of that high summer spirit. Tom has spoken of his initial plan to write a wordless chorus, “in the end I only half managed it – I couldn’t resist adding lyrics for the outro“. It was only on listening back that Tom really understood the words he’d written, “I realised they were a sort of pep-talk or intervention to my past self. I almost called it ‘Pity Party’ but it had already been done“.
Musically, the track is delightfully uncomplicated, the driving guitar chords (for the most part just two of them) reminiscent of The Vaselines in its deliberate simplicity. Atop the guitars and steady, unrushed drums, the vocals, resplendent with a delightful layer of fuzzy overdrive, tell a tale of drunken disappointment and pursuing your dreams at a, “glacial pace”. Fitting neatly alongside classic bands like Galaxie 500 or Beat Happening, Rural France are a band that make the straight-forward into something magical, and when their album arrives next month you might just discover your new favourite band.