For all its complexity, Pardon Our French! is an easy listen. As a matter of fact, it is a blast. Drawing the listener in with their vast array of instrumentation, this is a tight and musically sound group. The band is not kidding when they titled the first track "Everything Works in Mexico," because they throw in a ton of instruments and changes, and yet it all comes off without a hitch. The authentic trumpet sound and nylon string guitar add a nice touch. The varied instrumentation gives each track a unique if somewhat schizophrenic character.
The playful spirit of "…Mexico" is countered with the more experimental noisemaking and Asian sounding intro that takes place during "Sekala Dan Niskala." The "Pardon Our French Medley" stays in the experimental mode, but creates a spacier vibe. Accordions, harpsichords, woodwinds, and some heavily delayed guitar set the atmospheric moments. The band adds sections with heavier guitar and bass, some offbeat piano playing (ala King Crimson's "Catfood") showing they are prepared to rock when necessary. Guitar enthusiasts will dig the variety of tones and excursions provided during this track by Chris Smith. The only complaint I really have is that there are a few keyboard sounds that are a bit too processed for my liking, but they are few and far between. The band manages to constantly demand your attention, never letting one moment last too long before injecting some new instrument, or spiraling off into a completely different direction. The music is best described as unpredictable, and let's leave it at that.
Pardon Our French! left me impressed, but more importantly entertained and wanting more. I want my French TV!!!!!!