It's encouraging to hear when musicians take account of their faults in previous work and then correct them on their next offering. French Kicks, rather like fellow New Yorkers The Walkmen, certainly had the talent but amongst the off-kilter delights from first album 'One Time Bells' was a tendency to veer off into experimental rock avenues that probably only made sense to the band themselves. Clearly a rethink was necessary and the results on 'The Trial Of The Century' are tighter, more focused but without relinquishing their gift for creating unusually heartfelt alt-pop. Nick Stumpf still manages the singing drummer technique with ease; proving a fine songwriter in the process and injecting tangible touches of sadness in the title track and 'Only So Long'. The warmth of the vocals contrast with the wintry chimes of 'Oh Fine' whilst 'Following Waves' and 'You Could Not Decide' plot a suprisingly fertile furrow between MOR and post-rock territory. For one of the least image-conscious bands of the NYC set, French Kicks have let their music do the talking.