I was impressed with Anxiety Club’s earlier EP, Black Heart – and they’ve created three more songs that burst from the speakers for new EP, Francine – it’s onward and upward for this Wellington-based group. They’ve added young journeyman guitarist Chris Armour to the group. He combines with lead singer Kev Fizsimons’ rhythm guitar to create some excellent parts on this new, fresh-sounding set of tunes, particularly on opener Public Service, where it’s all angles and sharp shapes.
The title track is more about the warmth of Fitzsimons’ voice and the country-rock backdrop that Brad Welch (bass), Chris Hill (drums), Clint Meech (keyboards) and Armour effortlessly serve up/selflessly serve.
The final track on this short outing, The Sun Is Out, is the amber-hued ballad of the bunch.
What I like about these songs is the deceptively simple way the band never overplays; this should be the way it’s done but it takes a lot of confidence in the lead singer – and fortunately Anxiety Club has someone with a great set of pipes to lead the songs. From loping beneath to the alongside-canter – a searing bit of slide work frames up The Sun Is Out so nicely – this is a group of well-honed, well-heeled players; they’ve taken the time to shape these performances, to make them great.
Francine appears like a musical business card. This is what this band can (presently) do. This is how they work. These are the styles. This is the material. It’s a common-ground somewhere between Wilco and U2 and if that’s off-putting to you then I’m sorry, it just feels like the best all-purpose description. Well, maybe, the best all-purpose description is in the songs of Black Heart and now Francine. And that’s how it should be with a band. Serving the songs. Working to create the music.
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