Album Premiere: Heartbreak & Mending in French for Rabbits’ Achingly Beautiful ‘The Weight of Melted Snow’

The Weight of Melted Snow - French For Rabbits
An intimate record that weighs on the mind, body, and spirit, French for Rabbits’ sophomore album ‘The Weight of Melted Snow’ brings to life a breathtaking array of powerful, stirring, and poignant emotion.
this article was written in collaboration with Francesca Rose.

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Stream: ‘The Weight of Melted Snow

‘The Weight of Melted Snow’ is perhaps our long-form version of Ariana Grande’s ‘thank u, next.’

French for Rabbits dove into the furthest depths of their beings for their sophomore album, exploring the nether reaches of heartbreak, solitude, redemption and acceptance. An intimate record that weighs on the mind, body, and spirit (both literally and metaphorically), The Weight of Melted Snow (out 1/25/2019) brings to life a breathtaking array of powerful, stirring, and poignant emotion.

The Weight of Melted Snow - French For Rabbits

The Weight of Melted Snow – French For Rabbits

Sadness steals my body, fills my bones.
A careless lark, a heavy moan.
Peter pick her up or let her go.
Her wings are but
the weight of melted snow.

Bird, I need your help, how do I know?

Atwood Magazine is proud to be premiering French for Rabbits’ sophomore album The Weight of Melted Snow, out Friday, January 25 via Fat Possum affiliate Muscle Beach Records. Hailing from Wellington, New Zealand, French for Rabbits have been actively unleashing their sometimes sweet, sometimes moody brand of dream pop into the world for the better part of seven years. Comprised of core members Brooke Singer and John Fitzgerald alongside drummer Hikurangi Schaverien-Kaa (Glass Vaults, Shake’em-Downers) and multi-instrumentalists Penelope Esplin (Moonlander, Grawlixes) and Ben Lemi (Trinity Roots, Dawn Diver, Congress of Animals), the band amassed a strong global following in their early years, and have since toured Europe five times and racked up millions of Spotify streams.

While no one can deny their activity, French for Rabbits have released relatively few songs since 2014’s debut album Spirits – making it all the more momentous when the song “Highest Hill” announced their return last year. Previously described by Atwood Magazine as “a sweetly atmospheric journey of highs and lows… a reflection of common conflicting emotions… with a harshness cutting through the smooth surface,” “Highest Hill” captures a key part of The Weight of Melted Snow‘s beauty, but it by no means tells the full story.

French For Rabbits © Ebony Lamb Photographer

French For Rabbits © Ebony Lamb

French for Rabbits begin with the haunting title track “The Weight of Melted Snow,” a delicate and beautiful introduction full of melancholia. “Sadness steals my body, fills my bones. A careless lark, a heavy moan.“ the delicate words ring out into the darkness as Singer lays herself out for all to see. From the offset, we understand: This will be a difficult and powerful journey.

As Brooke Singer so eloquently explains, this album came out of a period of personal struggle, reflection and growth; of emotional unrest and turbulence; and so much more than must be left unsaid.

“Someone described the album as the sound of a heart-breaking and mending, which I think is true,” Singer tells Atwood Magazine. “There is all that dark feeling like isolation, defiance, sadness and then some of hopefulness, nostalgia, acceptance. The song ‘One and Only’ perhaps sums it all up the most because it was written at the peak of it all – when poetry feels corny and the only words that fit are the most honest ones.”

The sort of raw outpouring that can paralyze a listener, “One and Only” is a heartrending confession of and surrender to love that arrives just shy of the album’s halfway point. French for Rabbits’ intimate lyrics go unmatched as they weave a tale of comfort and knowing, loss and remorse:

I met you when I was only 18,
lay down in the wet grass
tracing words upon our skin.

Bowed my heart like a willow to the water
to be your one and only lover.
I remember a kindred smile,
I remember fires by the sea,

I remember sleeping by the roadside
and waking up to joggers passing by.

You lost the plot in a city I can’t recall,
lost the dream we were thinking of,

sharp as a pin, so lost without surrender.
But I bowed my heart like a willow to the water
to be your one and only lover.
Let my hand fall back into place,
cocoon you between a rock and a hard place.

Say to you I will let you in but I never did…
But I bowed my heart like a willow to the water
to be your one and only lover,

cause you are my love. You are my love.
French For Rabbits © Ebony Lamb Photographer

French For Rabbits © Ebony Lamb

The sad intimacy of piano, violin and vocals lends its weight to a profoundly moving execution. This sort of bittersweet scene plays out across The Weight of Melted Snow as French For Rabbits explore a plethora of life experiences and dwell in their accompanying emotions.

Every track has its rightful place. “Time Did Not” emerges with a slow Bjork iciness, its violin riffs sending shivers down the spine before the pace picks up as though finding light and a sudden rush of motivation. “Birds Eye Point of View” emotes spaciness, capturing that dream pop essence of swooping through the sky. A sort of lullaby ambience, “Close My Eyes” explores escapism alongside a folky guitar: “Close my eyes once and I am ready to fall, close my eyes twice and I am lost to the dark.”

While The Weight of Melted Snow is not all dark, even the brighter points feel like they’re spinning on the edge of some faraway needle. Glowing like a ray of sunshine, the shimmering “Dead Wood” feels like a prolonged, heavy hug:

I can’t watch the evening news,
all the poison that it’s spreading,
all the misleading lines.
Makes my shoulders feel so heavy
with the weight of everything
that some don’t feel inside.
Doesn’t it just make you want to cry,
or are you so caught up inside it
you won’t even bat an eye?
Dead wood, don’t you hold me back.
Blossom out like a summer rose,
dead wood, don’t you hold me back.

According to Singer, the album was written in three different places: “From a small wooden house in Waikuku Beach came ‘Hollow Bodied Friends’ (on collective oblivion for climate change and degradations in the environment), ‘Feathers and Dreams’ (written about Gaza and a reflection on feeling helpless). While we lived in Port Chalmers, crouched on the edge of the sea came songs like “The Weight of Melted Snow,” which echoes with the local church bells, and our many travels, cobbled streets, big cities. “It Will be Okay” and “Days Shift” are about the wild ride of one’s mental state, holding yourself up, wanting to do well. Moving to Wellington city, and living solo for the first time perched up on a hill… ‘Time Did Not’ looks back.”

She continues, “The album is not just those things though – it is a real collaboration with my wonderful band! So much of the music is about the textures and feelings which John, Ben and Hikurangi pull together. We wanted the album to be both big and small feeling, so hopefully, people feel that!”

French for Rabbits © Ebony Lamb

French for Rabbits © Ebony Lamb

Cause we’re all
living on the edge of reason,

let the fog ascend and we’ll breeze on
as the train comes, heavy on the tracks…
Cause we’re all
living on the edge of freedom,

let the fog ascend and we’ll breeze on
as the train comes, heavy on the tracks.
– “Hollow Bodied Friends,” French for Rabbits

The Weight of Melted Snow is big, small, and everything in-between. “Hollow Bodied Friends” aches with anticipation; there’s a sense of vulnerability in the sparseness of the sound and Singer’s ghostly vocals. If this is a personal emotional album, then “Days Shift” feels like an acceptance of those emotions and trying to find a way through it:

we all want to be remembered
we all want to be courageous
but I’m falling behind
don’t want to be swept up in the tide

Lastly, album closer “Highest Hill” offers a fitting conclusion, with its narrative focusing on conflicting emotions and its sound taking the listener on a journey from low to high. Everything is suddenly glossed over with a sanguine haziness, so that even the cruelest of actions can feel pleasantly reassuring… After such an emotive, transformative journey, the listener is left on an optimistic high.

Maybe this is a long-form version of Ariana Grande’s “thank u, next” after all. French for Rabbits’ The Weight of Melted Snow is an emotionally-charged, soul-stirring experience – a true encapsulation of heartbreak and mending. Stream this breathtaking sophomore album exclusively on Atwood Magazine!

The Weight of Melted Snow is out everywhere Friday, January 25.

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Stream: ‘The Weight of Melted Snow

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The Weight of Melted Snow - French For Rabbits

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:: 2019 Tour Dates ::

3/12 – SXSW
3/13 – SXSW
3/14 – SXSW
3/15 – SXSW
3/16 – SXSW
3/17 – New Orleans – Gasa Gasa
3/18 – Memphis – DKDC
3/19 – Nashville – House Show
3/22 – Brooklyn – Trans Pecos
2/23 – Washington, DC – Songbyrd
3/29 – Boise – Neurolux
tix & more info @ frenchforrabbits.com

Mitch Mosk

Mitch is the Editor-in-Chief of Atwood Magazine and a 2014 graduate from Tufts University, where he pursued his passions of music and psychology. He currently works at Universal Music Group in New York City. In his off hours, Mitch may be found songwriting, wandering about one of New York's many neighborhoods, or writing an article on your next favorite artist for Atwood. Mitch's words of wisdom to fellow musicians and music lovers are thus: Keep your eyes open and never stop exploring. No matter where you go, what you do or who you are with, you can always learn something new and inspire something amazing. Say hi here: mitch[at]atwoodmagazine[dot]com