[show review] Les Racquet / Bug Jar, Rochester, NY / 6 December 2011

Despite writing a song (“Dear Sweet Amelie”) inspired by French actress Audrey Tatou, Les Racquet pronounces their name “Less Racket.” Decidedly un-French. The band actually resides in Brooklyn.

At the Bug Jar on Tuesday night, their first voyage to Rochester, the trio powered through their set displaying an incredible breadth of influence in a short period. It was funky without being funk, rocking without being rock, jazzy without being jazz, country without being country, progressive without being prog… And by every definition of indie they are indie: they’re managing, booking, marketing, producing and recording themselves and even printing their own shirts. Yet, they don’t exactly fit the indie-rock mold either. Rather than pull all that influence together at once into an unrecognizable mashup across the board, they came out more individually, every song taking on subtler differences as each influence came to light.

Talent-wise all three members impressed, but what was most impressive was the melding of seemingly divergent sounds. The bass, drums and guitar could simultaneously veer off on a tangent without losing the greater whole. The gorgeous three-part harmonies were the melodic highlight of the songs. Then they also weren’t afraid to throw an adventurous instrumental into the mix.

Expect to see a new EP coming out in early 2012 and continual touring, possibly including another stop in Rochester as early as the first week of January <fingers crossed>. I highly recommend catching these guys live as soon as you get the chance.

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Les Racquet // Dear Sweet Amelie [mp3]