Garrett Johnson

photo: Everett B. Wilson 1961

Review of Fake Valentine in “The Black and White Magazine” (Canada) (September 2006) by Garrett Johnson:

In the tradition of old souls like Leonard Cohen, Paul McCartney and 1960’s-era Scott Walker, David Francis offers a voice world-weary and overly melodic. Fake Valentine is a sad album that touches the dusty corners of your mind. Using a vast array of instrumentation to complement Francis’ guitar playing, these songs are not only lush, but often quite orchestrated…in an indie rock kind of way. The centerpiece of the album, “Song For A Party Never Held” is a multi-layered instrumental composition that reveals David Francis the composer. But Francis scores mini-overtures in pop-like fashion throughout this 11-song album. The most effective attempt is probably the opening title track, a painful and tragic triumph of a song. The Beatle-esque “Life Smiled” sounds so genuine, it’s difficult to admit that it draws so heavily from any other source. “Vilma’s Lighter” could easily come from Cohen’s personal journal, and Francis channels melodies that seem to come from decades before us…in such a fresh way. This is the kind of artist I do cartwheels over. Francis doesn’t necessarily challenge you with his music, but he certainly does comfort you. His tenor soothes, and his melodic charm sounds so focused and effortlessly infused. The beauty of an album like Fake Valentine is that it has both immediate and longlasting rewards, being the cult-classic album that it is. Here’s to the future of David Francis.