By Sam Jenkins
Francisco the Man is a L.A. based indie, shoegaze, and garage rock band formed in 2010. They so far have made one EP and one album, titled Loose Ends. Today I will be reviewing that album.
The album starts off with some ambiance leading into the first track, ‘You & I.’ This opening jam revs up with some sharp, clean guitar over its more grimy tone. It consistently threads the song together, adding some cohesiveness to the slightly eclectic bass and drums. Not only that, but the added clarity ‘You & I’ brings to the song makes its vibe very clear. That vibe is soul destruction. It slows down towards the end, letting the next song,’In the Corners,’ pop even more.
‘In the Corners’ doesn’t deliver the same emotional punch in the ribs that ‘You and I’ does, but the chorus still holds a passionate edge. That chorus really sticks with you, even to those of us who can’t relate to heavy substance abuse. The song also shows off some of the bassist’s talents with a little showing off here and there in the chorus.
The album continues its more aggressive tone as in dives into ‘Big Ideas.’ ‘Big Ideas’ takes a bit more from alternative rock musicians (think Cage the Elephant) than, say, Radiohead, the band’s foremost inspiration. Its loud, in your face, and a little angry. This is the song of someone driven mad with impatience, unable to deal with their decisions.
Loose Ends chooses to chill out as it moves into ‘Loaded,’ a more atmospheric tune about a relationship after a breakup. It flows very well, with reverbing guitars and tight drumming leading the pack. It displays its chosen emotions with strength and focus, both lyrically and instrumentally.
Next comes ‘In My Dreams,’ the first of two eight minute-long songs on the record. It has heavy Radiohead influence, mostly taking from the albums Kid A and In Rainbows. It is mostly vocalless, with a little bit of indecipherable lyrics in the last half. It very much reminds me of a song you would listen too late at night, on the highway, going nowhere.
Then comes ‘It’s Not Your Fault.’ ‘It’s Not Your Fault’ is an excellent song, but coming out of the melodic ‘In My Dreams,’ it feels like when you drop your phone on your face while you’re in bed. That being said the heavy-hitting bassline that opens up the tune really adds a lot. The song also has quite impressive vocals, dragging the word “fault” out for a bit longer than seems reasonable for a human.
Going from one fantastic track to the next, is ‘Progress.’ Similar to ‘It’s Not Your Fault,’ ‘Progress’ has some great bass and impressive vocal stylings, but what really hits the nail on the head is its lyrics. It opens with “Once we felt like brothers in my heart, Colorblind lovers making art.” ‘Progress’ paints a surreal, yet beautiful picture.
Steering back to garage rock, ‘I Am Not’ slides in, with some more dirty production, but it still keeps its sharp edge.The eight minute-long penultimate track, ‘I Used To Feel Fine,’ has nice guitars, and is overall a solid tune. It is graced with more singing than ‘In My Dreams,’ and is constantly shifting its musical focus, allowing for some pleasant versatility. The final track of Loose Ends, titled ‘It’s True, It’s You,’ ends the album on a bit of a low note, and was so uninteresting that all I wrote on my notes was “it’s all right.” The production is very nice though.
I enjoyed Loose Ends a lot. The tone is spot on, the emotions are clear, and it’s beautiful. Francisco The Man does slow songs well, but they really shine with grittier tracks like ‘You & I,’ ‘Progress,’ ‘Big Ideas,’ and ‘It’s Not Your Fault.’ Loose Ends receives a rating of 5 stars out of 7. When it’s good, it’s great, but when it’s only okay, it’s a little bit boring.