Earl Patrick
& Dear Francis,
To Fall Again
(self-produced, 2003)

Take good music, interesting lyrics and solid vocals, and most times you will get good songs. For some reason or other To Fall Again by Earl Patrick & Dear Francis sits on the edge of that. It is not that the songs are bad -- they are quite interesting, really -- but the music and lyrics tend to run on separate tracks and never touch.

The talent is there, Patrick's vocals fit the songs wonderfully, and he also plays the guitar quite well. Craig Hamblin (electric and acoustic upright basses) and Laird Novak (drums) help create some wonderful instrumental sections.

"Amica" starts the CD off on a strange note -- or rather the singing does, and the music does not. The music and lyrics of "Black and White Films" run alongside each other but remain separate for the entire song. This continues in "What am I Saying," on which the music is repetitive and set against the words of a strange individual.

The parts connect to build a web of longing and regret in "Three Thousand Miles." The music of "Stuck Inside the Crush" is driven while the lyrics are delivered at a slower pace. You meet a young dreamer in "Superhero" and it underscores how good they are when the pieces click.

There is an elusive side to "Queen Anne's Lace," with its imagery of things that are not entirely there. They either threw a hidden track in before the end or forgot to list one, but in either case it makes for a strange love song. The lyrics glide along with the music in "If Not for that Line" as we are told of a relationship that did not go well. And after several songs where things actually clicked, they end off with "Running Scared" and, despite the emotionally potent lyrics, the music is lacking.

Earl Patrick & Dear Francis have created a mixed bag in To Fall Again. Some of the songs will take your breath away, others are just a fraction off where the music and lyrics never collide but never mesh, either. The lack of lyrics is only a slight problem as it seems they did not list a song. These gaps don't ruin the CD they just make it less than it could have been.

- Rambles
written by Paul de Bruijn
published 19 June 2004

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