That’s how you describe François Virot’s vocals. The dude sounds like the product of an insect and a well-refined microphone. Aside from the presentation of an almost exact replica of Marty Anderson’s (Okay) vocal style, François Virot’s Yes or No is a laid-back-yet-tense-in-every-way piece of mostly-acoustic glory. His voice is at once breathy and full of life, a rare quality usually reserved for the well-established indie masterminds. It’s as if it’s everywhere at once, the words are distinguishable but somehow last for longer than you expect.
He doesn’t really ever “strum” his guitar, rather he opts to simply smash it with his artsy French hands. Maybe that’s a trendy new European thing. It takes on an unnatural crunch in its tone, like a glass of cold water from a rusted sink. Likewise, his percussion is of the found-variety: handclaps, stomping, hitting his guitar with a soft mallet, it’s all fair game. You’ll find the nearly-twee drumming on every beat, far enough in the background for it to be out of your mind, but just loud enough to carry the rhythm.
Yes or No is ancient in terms of blogosphere time, released way back in September 2008. I’m not sure if I’m just behind the times or it’s just finding its way to the United States now. I pulled it, by chance, out of the radio station library one especially underprepared day. I was overwhelmed by “Where O Where A.” How the percussion sits around and somehow never ceases stop, how the guitar sounds like it may either be played by a person or by a thousand tiny bugs working together in near-perfect harmony. There’s just enough wiggle-room to make the occasional imperfections add to the music. Then, the vocals. François Virot’s weak-yet-potent delivery adds to the almost-nonsense backing music to complete something altogether heartfelt and, at times, joyful.
Yes Or No is a far-overlooked acoustic indie album comprised of consistently fantastic songs, and I give it my highest recommendation.