Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Uncle Frank Band – Fountains

Uncle Frank Band – Fountains 

This is top shelf pop music with a brain and the ability to get you moving to match. That’s a rare combination in any year, but with the continual dumbing down process that a lot of pop music has seemingly undergone in the last day, it is a great thing to still find a band of real human beings who don’t rely on machines to generate danceable grooves and, instead, pack a personal wallop with their instrumental and vocal talents. Uncle Frank, based out of the Leicester area in England, have swiftly established a reputation as one of the best bands purveying a particular form of pop that doesn’t just aspire to make people boogie. As the saying goes, there’s something here for everyone. The first single from their forthcoming sophomore album, Love Lion, is a monumentally entertaining number called “Fountains” and it manages to get your tapping your feet and shaking while still appealing to the heart.  

The lyrics are definitely worth hearing. Without ever seeming pretentious or overreaching, “Fountains” has lyrical content that will unite an attentive audience and makes the band seem every bit as human as those listening to their music. Viewing the world as a madhouse from which they want escape, the yearning for joyfulness and something affirming comes through in every line of the song. There isn’t one needless word tacked on and, in a rare development, there’s a sense here that the band’s lyrical content is every bit as important to their music in some ways as the music. Vocalist Frank Benbini doubles down on that impression with his powerful, yet highly finessed, singing. A crasser approach to handling the lyrics on this track might have been to belt them out with all the conviction and lung power that a vocalist can muster and some might have enjoyed that. Benbini, however, brings his considerable experience as an important member of the Fun Lovin’ Criminals to bear on this song and chooses tastefulness over browbeating his audience into submission. 

The arrangement is quite straight-forward, but the individual components that make it work so well merit examination. The engine room rates above them all. Drummer Junior Benbini and his musical partner bassist Luke Bryan lay down a massive groove that, undoubtedly, makes Frank’s job all the easier. There isn’t a large guitar presence in this song and, instead, the track gets its top line instrumental melody from Jay Lynz’s keyboard work. He never overdoes it. Instead, the shimmering synth work gives the song a glossy sheen contrasting nicely with the hard hitting rhythm section. 

“Fountains” has the makings of a major hit for the Uncle Frank Band. The musicians and singer alike have combustible chemistry that never fails. The production, benefitting from a stellar mixing job by renowned producer Tim Latham, frames this track in the best possible sonic light and sets up the presentation of their next album in such a way that its success is virtually a sure thing.  

Scott Wigley

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