Uncle Frank – Fountains
Primary URL: http://www.unclefrankband.com/
Frank Benbini, a member of the popular band Fun Lovin’ Criminals, is prepared to reach another peak with his band Uncle Frank. The first single from their upcoming second studio album Love Lion, “Fountains”, considerably ups the ante and leaves them poised to become a top tier global act. Their growing slate of live dates and effusive praise from critics further cements that impression. No matter how much ink or data space is used to describe this talented five piece, the band ultimately has to stand up under the experience of audience expectations and there’s little doubt that, for fans of this sort of music, “Fountains” will more than fill their needs as listeners. There’s little here that even those not familiar with band, genre, or outright critical of the music, won’t find immensely entertaining and even a little comforting.
We’ve all known hard times, some harder than others, and Uncle Frank wants us all to know that he’s been there too. Unlike some, however, those trials haven’t dimmed either his hope or desire for better days ahead or some moment when he might transcend those difficulties. The song comes blasting out at listeners with its muscular mix of bass and drums, but it’s never in a heavy-handed way. Instead, the production and mix alike keep every element exquisitely balanced against the other and Tim Latham’s mix places the moments of importance where he should. It’s Benbini’s vocal that seals the deal for this reviewer and, surely, many other future listeners. The vocal melody strikes a highly musical and dramatic contrast with the music – where it slams and hits, Benbini smiles and coaxes. He doesn’t rush the lyric at all and, instead, takes audible joy in unwinding each line for the listener. He’s clearly a singer who pays great attention to tailoring his voice to the arrangement.
The guitar doesn’t play a big part in making this song work, but the work from the bass, drums, and keyboards are involved in a clear-cut interplay that takes a handful of dramatic shifts throughout the song’s duration without ever seeming too obvious about what’s coming next for the audience. They show the good sense throughout to never play too many notes and clutter the song with any ultimately pointless virtuosity. The single runs two minutes forty three seconds and the audience, live or otherwise, will never feel cheated by its relatively short running time. Instead, this is an intensely focused effort with a brevity that the majority of listeners will surely value.
The critical notice that they are receiving on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean will continue to grow. While it’s true that Uncle Frank currently enjoys greater prominence in the UK and European continent, they have planted strong roots in the United States as well and those forays they’ve made have paid off in guest appearances on other albums and live performances. The next album Love Lion and this first single will only strengthen their global foothold and is surely a harbinger of greater things to come.