The French Kicks may be in the frontlines of New York City's new rock revolution, but their shiny indie-pop is far from the edgy post-punk and organic garage-rock that has defined their hometown's sound. Instead, the band has steadily moved away from its own punk roots, indulging in lovely harmonies and an understated soul sexiness that evoked Smokey Robinson (while avoiding slickness) on their 2002 breakout album, "One Time Bells." They revel in even greater pop lushness on their follow-up, "The Trial of the Century," out on Tuesday, which has an overarching restraint that highlights the myriad details in its collage-like songs. And while it lacks the moments of melodic perfection that leapt from their last album, and their subtler sound has a more glossy sheen, the band still has a knack for fresh sonic textures. Nick Stumpf's pretty vocals glide over delicate keyboard and guitar melodies and a busy, hissing beat on "Don't Thank Me," while bubblegum vocal harmonies soar over a chiming keyboard and sharp metallic beat on "Oh Fine." The album has tougher moments, too, as cool indie-rock vocals power over a skating guitar hook that evokes early Tom Petty on "The Falls."
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