Archive for June, 2010

Sage Francis – Li(f)e [At Noize Makes Enemies]

Posted in Album, Review with tags , , , , , , , , , , on June 8, 2010 by David Hall


“The album ends […] with The Best of Times, an all-encompassing exploration of Francis’ childhood featuring a wondrous-sounding contribution from minimalist French composer Yann Tiersen. It ends with a few scant lines of advice he intends imparting to his future children, dwarfed by the entirety of the song and indeed album, suggesting that a person must filter through an entire lifetime of experience for just a few nuggets of workable advice.”
Sage Francis – Li(f)e reviewed at Noize Makes Enemies.

With fingers in many pies, this is my first review for Noize Makes Enemies in a fair old while, but worth waiting for. Not for my mad writing skills (not solely, at any rate), but for Sage Francis’ rather wonderful new album Li(f)e, a record that definitely springboards to near the top of my mental ‘albums of the year so far’ list. Meaning such a list is in my head, not that it has mental problems.

Although not a long-term admirer of Sage Francis – I was put off by Crack Pipes, which was featured on his debut album Personal Journals back in 2002 – more because of a slightly ignorant notion that I wasn’t ‘into’ rap at that moment than anything. Although Francis aficionados may identify Li(f)e as a much more gentle album in his canon, I personally feel it greatly benefits from its relaxed atmosphere. Like the wisdom that comes with age, it sounds as if Francis is comfortable enough to not feel compelled to stick to any blueprint. Which is where contributions from amongst others Buck 65, Califone, Death Cab for Cutie, DeVotchKa, Grandaddy and Sparklehorse come in. Lending the album an eclectic but not disjointed air of songwriting assurance. Francis’ writing is also assuredly streetwise and philosophical, the element which makes Li(f)e worth tuning in for; even if you aren’t ‘into’ hip-hop, I’d urge you to give Li(f)e a go. Aside from the lines mentioned in the review, one of my favourites has to be, “Truth be told, it takes more than having a picture taken for you to lose your soul”.

Sage Francis on Myspace
Sage Francis – Li(f)e reviewed at Noize Makes Enemies
Sage Francis – Li(f)e
on Spotify

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Lone Wolf – The Devil and I [At The 405]

Posted in Album, Review with tags , , , , on June 8, 2010 by David Hall


“Minor misgivings aside, there is plenty to recommend
The Devil and I; its overall aesthetic is complex and fablish, a rich tapestry yielding intricacies which gradually enfold the listener. Themes are uniformly grave and gloomy, from the noirish WW2 resistance tale of ‘We Could Use Your Blood’ and the dread-filled clairvoyance of ‘Keep Your Eyes on the Road’.”
Lone Wolf – The Devil and I reviewed at The 405.

You sort of heard about Lone Wolf here first. OK, that’s a big and probably incorrect claim, but I think you’ll find reading back over previous No School Like Old School posts you’ll find praise for Paul ‘Lone Wolf’ Marshall’s rather handsome video for Keep Your Eyes on the Road. The song, as I attest in this review, is no slouch either.

As opposed to me; I am a slouch. Like a sloth on a couch. You might notice that my review of Lone Wolf’s debut The Devil and I (great title by the way) was published at The 405 a fair old while ago; last month in fact. The main reason I’ve neglected posting word of these words is, as you’ll notice scrolling all the way past the bottom, a commenter pulled me up on a few points. I thought it was suitable to let the argument run its reasonable course before linking the review up, as it’d be a bit unfair to leave it cut short. Speaking of unfair, I’d like to think once I make a point it stays made, and when I construct an analogy it’s not to be taken literally. But anyway, the argument was enlightening and was all very civilised.

At any rate, at the time of writing, The Devil and I is quite justifiably The 405’s Album of the Week which is all very jolly and that. Oh and if like me the cover reminds you of ‘The Death of Socrates’, that’s because it should; it’s by the same painter, 18th Century French Neoclassicist Jacques-Louis David. All things considered, The Devil and I is beautiful.

Lone Wolf – The Devil and I reviewed at The 405
Lone Wolf on Myspace
The Devil and I on Spotify