Chester French

chester french
Courtesy of Jung Kim/Chester French

Chester French’s Myspace

What do Harvard University, British socialite Peaches Geldof and the Lincoln Memorial have in common?

Retro rock duo Chester French, that’s what. Both of its members, D.A. Wallach and Maxwell Drummey, attended Harvard; Drummey recently married Geldof in a Las Vegas chapel after dating her for only a week; and the guys named themselves after the artist who sculpted Lincoln’s marble features in Washington, D.C.

Chester French, who turned down offers from Kanye West and Jermaine Dupri in order to sign with Pharrell Williams’ label Star Trak, is like a time machine for your ears. The guys draw on the sounds of artists like Motown, The Beatles, Johnny Cash and Outkast to create songs that are familiar yet fresh, old school yet futuristic.

In its synthesized single “She Loves Everybody,” the band blends the best sounds of the 1960s with contemporary lyrics. Likewise, “People” conjures up images of the Beach Boys and 1950s style drive-ins, but mixes in lyrics that would be more appropriate in an Urban Dictionary definition. Wallach sings, “Now every time I see a dime / I ask myself if she is the one, the one / Or is she just another shortie / with a fatty cake inside of that bun, that bun.” (Yeah, I don’t know what that means either.)

But the band’s genre bending doesn’t end with old timey rock ‘n’ roll. “Beneath the Veil” injects hip-hop sensibility into a classic country melody to create a song worthy of a modern Johnny Cash, while “Neal” blends hip-hop with swing music.

With a whole new decade right around the corner, it’s about time a band stepped up to define what the next generation of music is going to sound like. With one guitar riff in the past and the other in the future, Chester French might just be that band.

—By Asst Entertainment Editor Franchesca Winters

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