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“A Modern Promise” From Francis and the Lights

August 18th, 2008 by Jeff Simmermon

Francis Farewell Starlite

Musically, our culture has achieved singularity. Every song ever recorded is dripping off the tip of the Internet’s long tail and into the ears of anyone with headphones and an iTunes account. Bands like the Black Lips and Interpol do solid service to sounds past, and Girl Talk mashes old songs together to make something new. While New York’s Francis and the Lights has one foot rooted solidly in Prince’s synth-heavy ’80s output, the other foot is rhythmically shimmying its way straight into the future.

I’ve mentioned them here before, several times, with good reason. They’re one of the best live bands I’ve ever seen, in New York or anywhere else.

This video for “The Top,” from the new mini-album “A Modern Promise” just made me scream. It’s shot on 35mm, pops in a giant new Quicktime window. Compared to Youtube videos, this is Batman in IMAX, except funky. Click the dancing Francis after the jump to see for yourself:

Francis Farewell Starlite

I can’t recommend “A Modern Promise” enough. It’s referential without being ironic, silly in spots without being sarcastic. And the sound is really, really hard to describe. But the feeling in the music itself — it’s so fresh and earnest. It’s the feeling that comes from totally throwing your heart into something and not caring how it fits in. It’s … it’s like this.

I first heard Terence Trent D’arby’s “Wishing Well” in the spring of 1987. I was in the fifth or sixth grade and just stoned with hormones sledgehammering their way through me as I experienced my first crush. It was nighttime and the window was open, I was obsessing over my first crush and then “Wishing Well” came on the radio and I had no choice but to turn up the radio and start attempting handstands. Badly.

Francis and the Lights, they make me remember that feeling.

Here’s a sample track from “Modern Promise,” and a link to “Striking,” (a free EP), and a live fan video on Youtube:

Otherwise, you’ve just got to see them for yourself. Soon.

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