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May 2019
Review

Francobollo - Long Live Life

The band’s wonky indie rock sounds like nothing else around.
Francobollo - Long Live Life
Published: 2:19 pm, July 13, 2017
The band’s wonky indie rock sounds like nothing else around.

Label: Square Leg Records
Released: 14th July 2017
Rating: ★★★★

From Sweden to London via stints as session musicians for bands like Slow Club and Mystery Jets, Francobollo definitely took the long way round to their debut album 'Long Live Life'. Whether or not it was a conscious path, it seems to have worked like a charm, with the band’s wonky indie rock sounding like nothing else around.

'Long Live Life' opens with the recently-released 'Worried Times', a crashing and receding combination of space and raucous riffs that serve as a starter course in everything Francobollo do well.

The album is far from one note though, with tracks like the brilliant early single 'Wonderful' showing a tender, heartfelt side to the band, without compromising any of the wobbly weirdness that makes them great. 'USO' is another one in the same vein, a slow-paced melody that builds up into to the edge of a crescendo before retreating into sedation, showcasing a band that are more than happy to confound expectations.

'Kinky Lola' is an entirely different proposition, sounding almost like an early Jamie T track played on a tape recorder that’s just about to run out of battery. Long, drawn out vocals and lines about "Pop star wannabes straight from the 80s” combine into an acerbic and experimental mid-album stop-off.

Penultimate track 'You Know This' acts as a final chance for Francobollo to show exactly what they’re about, contrasting quiet moments and reflective lyrics with an array of background noises so varied it’s sometimes hard to work out what instrument they’re actually being made on.
So far, so great. But if there’s one criticism of 'Long Live Life', it’s that while there are plenty of high points to be found, there’s a real feeling that it’s made up of twelve songs written at different times and bolted together, rather than as a project in its own right. This isn’t a major problem, and the songs are still by and large absolute bangers, but it’s the one thing that stops 'Long Live Life' from reaching the dizzying heights that Francobollo seem capable of. Jake Hawkes

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