Nick James

photo: Everett B. Wilson 1961

Review of Fake Valentine in “Atomicduster” (UK) (February 2005) by Nick James:

It’s not every day that you have compliments bestowed upon you by the manager of the Rolling Stones, but that’s one of the many feathers in the cap of David Francis. What do our dynamic duo think about these songs though?

T: It’s quite an extraordinary set of tunes to be honest. A more alternative Elvis, shades of Chris Isaak, large splodges of Bo Diddley, a smattering of early Roxy Music and even Eno’s solo output. Those folk who dismiss something as “crap” if they don’t like it upon their first listen will continue to bury their heads in the sand, whilst those of us with even half a brain will be handsomely rewarded with repeat listenings, as this is a fine release filled with exquisite beauty, and while it is unlikely ever to spawn so much as a hit single, it would almost certainly be championed by any of the more “mature” music magazines that seem to be the only ones worth buying nowadays. I only wish the great John Peel were still around to witness Francis’ impressive output, and I’d be intrigued to hear his comments. The references that spring at you are endless while the album plays: the latest being the late Billy Mackenzie crooning over a Latin American beat, but the fact remains that this album is truly wondrous.

N: I think it’s a case of getting into the right headspace before drawing any conclusions, and as you said, all this and more. David, to my mind, bears the uncanny spirit of Ray Davies, perhaps vocally, but none more so than track three “Reflections in the Mirror of the Life I’m Wearing”, which cheekily utilises the intro of “Sunny Afternoon”…or perhaps it had just been on random play just before he settled down to pen this track. His musicality is undoubted, and wholly worthwhile once you get past the “sheep.”