One of the many bands hanging on the fringe of the Athens indie rock scene, eclectic in-jokesters Je Suis France balance a healthy penchant for garage rock and craggy instrumental epics harkening back to the early days of Built to Spill with an adventurous Camper Van Beethoven anything-goes-aesthetic (which is appropriate seeing that they released their first album on David Lowery's Pitch-a-Tent label). And while their band persona -- with members having names like Darkness and Iceberg, their philosophizing about Eastern bloc politics, and their baffling album liner notes and cover art seem to hint at the worst of art rock eccentricity -- they are ultimately a fairly down-to-earth indie rock band.
Forming while in a Marietta, GA, high school around principal members DJ and Darkness, the Je Suis France lineup was solidified when the various members found themselves enrolled at the University of Athens and working at the college radio station. With the additions of Chris Rogers on guitar and Iceberg on bass, the band went through a litany of names and instrumental alignments before exchanging the Masters of the Hemisphere's Sean Rawls for his bandmate Jeff Griggs as drummer, thus finalizing their lineup. As their reputation grew in the crowded Athens scene, both for their artful songwriting and their occasional performance of songs in phonetically reversed lyrics, they found a home for their self-titled debut in 2000, which garnered highly favorable reviews for their mix of curvy instrumentals and ragged anthems. The similarly impressive Ice Age followed in 2002. ~ Matt Fink