Warren Franklin & The Founding Fathers - Every Letter And Souvenir
Record Label: Count Your Lucky Stars Records
Release Date: June 15, 2013
Warren Franklin & The Founding Fathers is a peculiar proposition. Somewhat hidden behind the bigger guns on the Count Your Lucky Stars roster, Warren Franklin & The Founding Fathers have little in common with the twinkles and emo of their fellow CYLS-ers. However, that’s no reason to let these guys go under the radar and so, here we are dealing with Every Letter And Souvenir, the Illinois’ band’s first release since 2011’s Your Heart Belongs To The Midwest and since Warren Franklin was joined by The Founding Fathers. So how is it?
Well, it’s certainly different to Warren Franklin’s earlier work. Despite the fact that four out of the five tracks on the EP have been previously released, the addition of a backing band has completely changed the dynamics of Warren Franklin’s music. Whereas, previously, Franklin’s almost entirely acoustic music was a little bit unprofessional due to it’s ‘dude in his room’ vibe, on Every Letter And Souvenir, the clear talent present is able to breathe and manifest itself through the full band, and it’s all the better for that. Franklin’s voice is better than ever and the instrumentation on the record is complementary to the lyrics and the constant retro references.
What sets these guys apart from their peers is indeed those retro references. Whilst they are certainly a band rooted in the present, occasionally the band dips into a sort of sixties ‘rock’n’roll’ vibe which in incredibly endearing and somewhat unique. Franklin’s soft vocals certainly assist this feel, in particular on the title track (also, the only new track on the EP). The fact that they have an actual unique aspect to their music genuinely helps them carve a niche away from the rest of the scene. “You’ve Never Heard “My Aim Is True”" could be on the soundtrack of any Eddie Rocket’s restaurant (despite the references to 70s Elvis Costello). The fun, frollicky vibe of the track is somewhat foot-tap inspiring and it’s just a generally happy tune. “Bro Down Knows No Bounds” is also great fun. The horns and ‘whoas’ combine to make for a perfect summer soundtrack and everything just feels so upbeat and relentlessly positive. Franklin’s lyrics are a wonderful counteraction to the sadness and negativity of so much of this scene and it’s hard to not lose yourself in his attitude.
Largely, this is a great EP. The lack of new material on here decreases its impact a little, however the promise shown in that one new track promises a bright future. If you haven’t listened to Franklin before, this EP is the perfect introduction. If you’re already a fan, it’s time to get excited.