For an artist, the key to maintaining one's own identity is to steer
clear of drawing inspiration from like-sounding artists. Years back,
Method Man
[click to read]
would listen to Miles Davis when he recorded, and ironically Fiona
would listen to Method Man (the whole Wu-Tang Clan in fact). As
Hip Hop artists broaden their horizons in sound and style, the music
they draw inspiration from starts to veer further and further from Rap.
Years from now, DXnext artists Chester French
[click to read] will
be the group they still play in the studio.

When Harvard grads D.A. Wallach and Max Drummey formed Chester French,
the heavy Pharrell [click to read]
cosign would suggest that their music would hold some degree of an
"urban" tinge. Thankfully their debut album Love the Future includes
none of that, besides a Star Trak label. Here is a group adored by Hip
Hop heads, simply by being themselves - messy haired white boys in
khakis and oxford shirts crafting Rock reminiscent of the '60s and

Love the Future is an amalgam of sounds that closely
resemble that era of Rock that we only heard about but never fully
experienced live. It's that Almost Famous Rock when Rolling Stone was
on its A-game mixed with the British invasion. It's the Beach Boys back
when they were at war with The Beatles, plus a touch of the 1910
Fruitgum Company
It's drenched in Rock, yet there's an underlying Soul
to it.

The first singles heard from Chester French, "She Loves
Everybody" and "The Jimmy Choos" were decent indicators that this group
loved by Rap was not comprised of rappers. "She Loves Everybody" takes
haunting strings and vocals that later emerge into a synthy Rock party,
while "The Jimmy Choos" bring the guitars and drums into unified
basslines, enough for any Hip-Hop fan to nod his head like he's jocking

Lyrically, Chester French insert straight-laced humor
into songs about love and not getting enough of it, but still romancing
with lines like "this ain't groupie love 'cause you mean so much to me/You're my Bebe Ruell, you're my Puerto Rican Pamela Lee" on the snappy
"Bebe Ruell" or the dark Johnny Cash-ish "Beneath the Veil". There are
no real low points on Love the Future, with even the interludes
sounding like viable album cuts.

Chester French isn't the
first group to sample days past. We hear it everyday in Hip Hop, and in Indie Rock groups like Vampire Weekend, the Kooks, and the Klaxons. The
difference is in CF's approach, and while anyone's Rock-loving parents
might mistakenly call Chester French biters, we can call them the
reason why a Soulja Boy fan might pick up a Beatles CD someday.