January 07, 2005

Frances Albert Machine "I Love You And I Don't Want You To Die"

If you’ve ever wondered what a band that crossed the melancholy of Trembling Blue Stars with the unique experimental folkie moments of Hood (and who hasn’t?), then I highly recommend I Love You And I Don’t Want You To Die: Singles & Rarities 1999-2004 by Francis Albert Machine. This one man show has done a really good job of making sad, mopey bedroom indie-pop a tad more interesting than your typical bedsit sad lad. Though the track listing denotes twenty-six songs—not to mention the one hidden track—don’t be put off, because eleven of these “songs” are no more than brief experimental sonic clips that sound great AND make the real songs even more interesting.

But let’s talk about those real songs, shall we?

Francis Albert Machine has one of those sad-eyed British voices that’s quite typically indie-pop; it’s sad, but not winsome; it’s sweet, but not twee. He sings of heartbreak and he sings of it in such a way that makes you realize that he knows the road to better days is to travel through moments of melancholy. He takes this trip by himself, and for a one-man act, his music’s quite grand—and like the best British music, it’s quite witty, too! To highlight this, just check out the first line to one of my favorites, “I Didn’t Understand It So I Gave It a Name”: “I don’t believe in free love, and not because I don’t get enough.” How could anyone not love such a keen wit? Other highlights include “The Equal + the Opposites Attract,” the gorgeous “The Smoking Gun” and the unlisted cover of “My Funny Valentine.”

It’s a bit frustrating that such a great artist toils in the pit of obscurity, but I Love You And I Don’t Want You To Die corrects that wrong. That he’s been making such excellent music for such a long time in the face of utter obscurity is both frustrating and inspiring, proving that once again, good doesn’t always have to be well known. Here’s hoping that the world gets the privilege of hearing more from Frances Albert Machine!

--Joseph Kyle

Artist Website: http://www.frankiemachine.com
Label Website: http://www.chocohearts.com

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