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We Lived by Francesqa

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Reviewed on 21st July 2010.


We Lived

By Francesqa

Francesqa have a penchant for punchy melodic rock and storming choruses that occasionally verge on the anthemic. Fortunately, they also have a vocalist who has no problem making himself heard.

EP-opener 'Ghosts' takes your typical modern punk fodder of pogo-ing verses and high-octane, foot-stamping choruses, and then ups the ante with a sleek riff that puts an edgy spin on things, and an end-section where Francesqa blow this song wide open with lashings of backing vocals that blur and echo, and make it impossible to pinpoint where 'Ghosts' ends. Francesqa have the ability to sound absolutely huge.

The pogo-friendly pop-punk anthems continue, with 'Years.' Francesqa frontman Ashley Wilkie's voice was made to blast out these sort of over-blown choruses, and on 'Years' he does exactly that, amongst lashings of fizzy guitars. But, like with 'Ghosts,' Francesqa add something new to the pop-punk mix, in the form of a bridge section that trembles with taunt, straining guitars and random spasms of drum-rolls. Although, it's a major disappointment when this tension peaks and breaks, and it turns out Francesqa have been building up to a few repetitions of the chorus and a bit of an instrumental. A flat ending.

'Hopeful' is more unusual. Built on broken guitar lines, this song stutters its way into your head, and Francesqa know when they're onto a winner, carrying those broken rhythms into the chorus with a combination of stumbling bass and starburst strumming. Still, it's the finale where 'Hopeful' really shines, building from a murmured vocal to a stream of screaming riffs, where Wilkie really bellows out those big notes. A finale to get you hitting the 'repeat' button.

The must-hear songs off this five-track EP are 'Crooked Little Sun' and 'We Lived.' The former, is a glossy rock song with an anthemic flourish, but it also takes a leaf out of 'Hopeful's book and layers the sleek guitars on top of a jigging base. Elsewhere, pogo-ing drums and glugging bass beats help to keep matters suitably edgy. This is a stadium-sized anthem, with plenty of character beneath its slick surface. Just in case Francesqa haven't already won you over, EP-closer 'We Lived' periodically slams walls of sound and tumbling, eerie backing vocals through your speakers. Each time they cycle back around for another battering-ram assault, those waves of sound gain an additional layer of vocals. And, finally, when 'We Lived' is completely saturated with voices all crooning "we lived / we lived," Francesqa change tactics and clog up the few snippets of empty space with a thick, gloopy bassline, and a surface coating of Wilkie's most desperate vocals. An overpowering, drama-drenched finale.

With their 'We Lived' EP, Francesqa make a big, glossy racket, taking full advantage of their frontman's ability to rise above even the loudest chorus. However, even on EP highlights 'Crooked Little Sun' and 'We Lived' there's the feeling that the elusive extra 'something' is missing. This is a strong EP, from a band who seem to have the tools and the talent, to produce something even better in the near future.



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