Sometimes, an EW employee can feel like a lower-rent (though possibly less wasted) version of David Hasselhoff on America’s Got Talent; when people find out you write about entertainment for a living, they suddenly have something really special to share with you: a demo, an MP3, a YouTube video of their super-spectacular 28-minute R. Kelly “Trapped In the Closet” karaoke jam. And seeing that, unlike Señor Baywatch, I have no beat-it buzzer or handy motto (“Don’t Hassel the ‘Blatt”? Neither catchy nor alliterative!), I often end up with some well-meant but heinous stuff. Not so Chester French. I knew as soon as I heard them that there was something there, but honestly it’s a hard sound to describe; imagine an oddly sexy hybrid of the Beach Boys’ crystalline pop, Air’s Frenchy synth melodics, and modern hip-hop’s dirty beats and status-conscious braggadocio.
You may have heard them last week on Entourage over the outro credits (download that song, “She Loves Everybody” at iTunes for a limited time; it will go offline within a week or two, according to the band). But there’s no album out yet. When I first met them at a fancy industry party several months back, I figured the fresh-scrubbed Harvard seniors for record-company interns, or possibly golf caddies. Looking, as they did — like they’d just docked Dad’s yacht in Hyannisport — the two just about blew my tiny mind when hip-hop producer/artist/sneaker icon Pharrell Williams walked straight up and yelled out, “My boys!”, followed by one of those epic handshake-bro-hug maneuvers I’m not good at. And indeed, they’re signed to Williams’ Star Trak label, also home to heavy hitters like Clipse and Robin Thicke.
Maxwell Drummey (pictured, left) and D.A. Wallach (right), both 21, just graduated this month (with degrees in social anthropology and African-American history, respectively) but they’ve have actually been writing and producing on their own for the past three years; Star Trak aims to release their debut, Love the Future in the spring of ’08. Personally, I love the “ooh oohs” of “Jimmy Choo’s” (also streaming on their MySpace page). And having kept in touch sporadically with D.A. via e-mail, I find them surprisingly well-versed in musical history for kids their age, and pretty endearing as well… So take a listen and tell me what you guys think — are these boys headed for the big time, or no?