“Cinelli is the full package…a great musician, a great songwriter, and a great music producer.”
The multi-talented Franc Cinelli has finally released his highly anticipated follow-up to ‘The Marvel Age,’ in the form of his new LP ‘Night Songs,’ which opens with the non-traditional Folk intro ‘Adventure,’ a laid-back piece of Acoustic music throwing us back to when Sheryl Crow was chilling on a beach with her guitar on songs such as ‘Chances Are’ from her 2005 album ‘Wildflower’. Cinelli’s voice wreaks of Leonard Cohen and Bob Dylan-bliss from the outset, prepping you nicely for the rhythmically uplifting ‘Stay Strange.’ Its up-tempo rhythm guitar nostalgically reminds us of the classic, Canadian folk sounds of Joni Mitchell, while Cinelli’s slick, talkative singing is not performed to far off from a Tom Petty track, specifically Petty’s 1989 single ‘Won’t Back Down.’ And let’s not forget the crowd vocal in the last chorus section which makes you want to dance to the Country beat.
However, ‘Night Song’ is Cinelli’s hymn of the album. It is pure beauty. Just let the humming style of Franc’s voice in the song’s main hook, along with its arpeggiated, guitar melody relax you into a meditative state. It is without a doubt the LP’s endrearing and tender moment, very reminiscent of Michelle Branch’s short-but-sweet Country era and a piece of music which could easily sit alongside John Shanks’ famously captivating production.
“Franc proves, on songs such as ‘Fly’ that sometimes all you need is a heartfelt vocal and an acoustic guitar to carry a song.”
‘Fly’ delivers some of the most masterful, lead guitar playing since Paddy Casey’s performance on his 1999 song ‘Sweet Suburban Sky,’ while the strings which fade in during the outro complement the guitar beautifully, leaving you craving more of Cinelli’s emotive instrumentation. Franc proves, on songs such as ‘Fly’ that sometimes all you need is a heartfelt vocal and an acoustic guitar to carry a song.
‘Breathe,’ on the other hand, takes you on a slightly more sinister journey, with its haunting, Gospel backing vocals, a minor chord structure, and an intense string arrangement, revealing Franc’s darker side. The “Blues” man comes out on ‘Breathe,’ delivering instrumentation and delay effects on his
vocals to the ones we all embraced on PJ Harvey’s critically acclaimed album ‘Let England Shake,’ proving that Cinelli is the full package…a great musician, a great songwriter, and a great music producer.
“Who needs drugs when you’ve got ‘Four Walls’ to send you on a natural high?“
‘Horses’ is the album’s ballad, delivering husky, rough, Rock N’ Roll vocals, which are times are very reminiscent of the Goo Goo Dolls’ bassist and vocalist Robby Takac when Franc reaches his higher register. ‘Four Walls,’ on the other hand, screams of Ben Harper, with a hint of Lenny Kravitz, when he occasionally delved in an acoustic direction and has made us sway to its groovy, mid-tempo, Funk rhythm. ‘Four Walls’ is one of our favourites, especially when that harmonica drops. Who needs drugs when you’ve got ‘Four Walls’ to send you on a natural high? It is slick, smooth and chilled and a great lead in to ‘Rave On,’ the track which sends you straight back to Franc’s happy place…him and his guitar playing an infectious arpeggio, supported by his deep vocal tones, delivered similarly to Buddhist mantras. Full of ambience, ‘Rave On’ takes you on a trippy Electro-esque journey, specifically during its’ outro section which produces a sound not too dissimilar to Guy Sigworths, who is famously known for working with renowned music artists Bjork and Alanis Morissette.
‘Walk With Me,’ a quirky Folk Pop number which will make you smile and dance all at the same time has “single” written all over it, with its catchy hook “walk with me Jimmy, tell me that you’ll never change” and the “crowd” vocals singing “oh don’t the night go slow.” It is a celebration of Jimmy’s life, unpredictably over a Reggaeton-style tempo on the Drums, while ‘Night Life’ begins in the style of Suzanne Vega’s earlier career (just think of the song ‘Knight Moves’ from Vega’s self-titled album and you’ll know what I mean). However, soon enough ‘Night Life’ takes you on an exciting journey which symbolises a night out at a throwback, 70’s Disco and Funk rave, whilst the music cleverly responds to Cinelli’s vocal range as it becomes louder and higher throughout, over a Funky bassline and multiple symbols.
“This track marks a beautiful ending to a beautiful album and is Franc Cinelli, quite frankly, at his best”
The album ends with ‘When The Fire Is Gone,’ a song reminiscent of the Lo-Fi, early career of Heather Nova, via a Spanish-style, arpeggiated Acoustic, effected with breathy reverb, setting an epic scene of the Alternative, Folk world, alongside an Electric guitar solo performed in the vein of Chris Isaak during its’ outro, and the song ‘This Time.’ This track marks a beautiful ending to a beautiful album and is Cinelli, quite frankly, at his best…when he is emotive and taking us on a bittersweet journey which touches, saddens and then uplifts us via the use woodblock instruments such as Clave Blocks and Wooden Agogos, as well as his notable acoustic guitar and some tambourines.
‘Night Songs’ is one of the best Folk albums of 2019 and is out now on all online stores. Don’t forget where you found out about Franc Cinelli and his brilliant work first.
Stream ‘Night Songs‘