Franklin - S/T
Tree Records



What a shame some bands are. It's downright sad when a band can blow you
away live yet release an album that is barely above listenable. Franklin
WAS one of those bands, but this release (thankfully) elevates them from
that status. The last CD that Franklin released was a shoddy, hit or miss
affair at best. Some songs were kinda good (see: DJ Goes Dead), but some
were god-awful and painful to listen to. It was like I wanted the album
to be good so badly but I just couldn't talk myself into it. No matter how
much fun they were in a live setting, none of it transferred over to
recording.

Some months after that CD is released to the perpetually dissappointed masses, a new Franklin 7" is announced on the Chicago-based Tree Rrecords. With great amounts of trepidation I purchased it in hopes that they were in some way honing their fledgling sound and moving towards representing their live show a little better. It was billed as the precursor to their upcoming album to be released on Tree. Strangely enough, this "precursor" was released a full year earlier than this upcoming album would be. So I picked it up, hoping against hope that it would be a giant step up...and it was. The 7" was absolutely wonderful. It caught all the fun and danceability that this band offers up. Wow, so when's that new full length coming out anyway?
For all you unlucky chaps, September 13th. For me, I have, and am reviewing, one of the best albums of 1999. This CD has not left my player in a solid month. I honestly can't get enough of it. I can't tell you how many times I've listened to it after a boring day at work or after hopping out of the shower on a Saturday morning. Seriously, I listen to this thing all the time. Now, let me tell you why. Franklin is a band that started off as a pretty east coast/DC sounding rock machine. Their early stuff is pretty good, I suppose, but after a couple years they started making changes in their sound, changes that weren't fully realized on the last album but finally are here. Their sound has metamorphised and I couldn't be any more satisfied. They started to incorporate a more reggae sort of feel into their music and at first it wasn't totally clicking, but now, oh man, we're clicking like a ball point pen. Every song has such a groove to it, they all make you want to dance in some way. But don't let my reggae reference scare you off, they still rock it out really hard. Some of the songs have almost a Police feel to them while still retaining the whole indie/underground aesthetic. It's the diversity that shakes this band up though. I can honestly say that there are no indie bands doing anything even remotely close to this right now (but i can see it now, after the release of this album a slew of emo-reggae bands start up). The songs are just so catchy and fun for the most part. Although, they do stretch some songs out and break it down to a sort of drum and bass rhythm fest (trust me, it's good). There just isn't really anything bad I can say about this....I mean, I probably haven't given this band a fair shake here and should probably be telling you a little more about their sound, but this is all I can really say. They rock, the songs are really cool and smooth, the singers can actually sing, there is just such a fucking nice "groove" to this CD that will certainly land it on my best of the year list. I actually had a really hard time writing all of this, but if theres one think I want you all to do on September 13th, it is buy this CD. Seriously.
...david smith...

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