CD REVIEW: Fountains by Uncle Frank

The debut album from the Uncle Frank Band proved that this was never just a side project of lesser importance from the band’s leader, Frank Benbini. Benbini, one third of the respected outfit Fun Lovin’ Criminals, has a crackling artistic need to express himself in multiple ways and their forthcoming second album Love Lion is sure to be another stepping stone to a new level of excellence in an already impressive career. “Fountains” has a sharp focus from the beginning and doesn’t dare waste the listener’s time. This focus is the product of talented musicians and producers who know what they want to accomplish and avoid any and all self indulgence getting there. It will also appeal to listeners on more than a purely physical level, but there’s no question that this single is expertly crafted dance pop that will hit the mark for anyone looking for a good time.

It’s clear too, however, that they aspire to just giving audiences a bouncy lark. The chorus opens the song and immediately reveals the song’s intentions. Uncle Frank’s “Fountains” longs for transcendence. The opening couplet “Take me to the fountains/this is a madhouse” clearly shows that longing and every subsequent line further elaborates on the theme. The music complements it very well. It never overtly suggests a mood, but there’s an underlying current running throughout the song. It is never bright or outright cheerful and the synths and keyboards that drive the top line melody have a slightly moody tone. The percussion and bass, unsurprisingly, push the song harder than any single instrumental element and you’ll feel their foot on the gas rattling your chest throughout the entirety of the track. It isn’t difficult to imagine how well this song will play for a dance club or live concert with the arrangement erupting from a high quality sound system. It has an insistence and straight-forward style that will grab an audience or dance floor’s attention from the beginning and locked them into following every nuance.

Frank Benbini’s performance on vocals is particularly remarkable. He certainly cuts an imposing physical presence with his stature and those familiar with his appearance will likely note the striking contrast between the sensitivity of his delivery and imposing physical frame. He coaxes each line out and never attempts to take over. His phrasing captures all of the longing listeners will hear in the lyric while still possessing the same tendency as the music for lodging in the listener’s ear. The band self-produces their efforts and their skill in that area clearly enriches every part of the song, but their collaboration on this cut with Grammy award winning mixer and producer Tim Latham is its crowning achievement sonically. He gives the song a very balanced sound that doesn’t cheat the audience. This is a supremely funky and darkly hypnotic song that signals the Uncle Frank Band will continue evolving and scaling taller and taller musical heights.


by Lydia Hillenburg

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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