Monday, April 28, 2008

Reviews:: Pete Francis Iron Sea and the Cavalry

I got an email letting me know Pete Francis from Dispatch (and remarkably a band called Hermit Thrush - so chances are Aaron Bower is hyped) was releasing a new record. I had no idea who Dispatch was, and I have to be honest, if I did I might have passed on this record. Their collection of hippie jams/rap/funk is not something I ever needed to hear. But Pete's contributions to the group were more on the rock side of the equation and he continues along a more traditional path with his solo work.

Iron Sea and the Cavalry is a rootsy record that shows Francis tipping his hat to Dylan, Ryan Adams and a few other folk staples. With a steady diet of mandolin, electric and lap steel, Francis adds the right ingredients to that common recipe and when he gets the mixture right the songs are really good. The B-3 organ and driving pace of Shooting Star and the Ambulance make the track sizzle, and you can't ignore the beautiful album closer, Heavenly Boat.

There are some stumbles - I have to reach for the skip button every time Carnival comes on and Carousel kinds of loses me - but for the most part Pete has written a collection of songs that could find a home with many listeners. He's able to create an the same intimate setting as artists like Mason Jennings (Stowaway) and Daniel Hutchens (like on Case of Bad Love) and his simple, honest portrayal of emotion draws you in.

This record won't set your ears on fire, as Francis doesn't take many risks (and the ones he does fall a bit short) and you could easily compare him to countless other artists sampling from the same influences. But to be completely fair, Nic and I left this record on repeat as we drove around Seattle this weekend enjoying the sights and sun, every so often commenting on how much we liked a song. So if you are looking for a record that floats along pleasantly with some terrific moments, you could do a lot worse than Iron Sea and the Cavalry.

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Posted at 4:41 PM by ack :: 0 comments

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