The Lancaster UK trio Dope Francis, made up of guitarist/vocalist David Kay, bassist/vocalist Charlie Burns and drummer Raymond Salad, was formed a year ago as the trio met studying on an HND music course. The band’s first EP, the cheeky The Hot Carl EP, (the title meaning is a slang term for defecating on one’s sexual partner’s chest) is a pretty straightforward foray into the punk and nineties alternative rock.
The Hot Carl EP opens with the hard edged instrumental “Carl’s Requiem.” If anything it gives the listener a taste of what is to come, which is buzz-saw power chords, taught and upbeat bass lines and drums that stick to a loose snare. As things go it seems almost like it was included as an exercise, a sign of things to come next. Mainly it’s a warm up. What it warms the listener up to is the ‘90s alt rock “Dank Quiche.” It sounds a bit like a more bare bones version of Siamese Dream era Smashing Pumpkins tune with lyrics and vocals that lean to the later period emo stylings. On the whole “Dank Quiche” is pretty rocking and one can imagine the energy of the band in a live setting.
Next comes the bouncy “Collapse” which takes on much more of a Brit rock attitude that skirts the boundaries of punk rock but still has the pop sensibilities of bands like Arctic Monkeys. It shows that Dope Francis is trying to be more than just a funny punk rock band, and it would have been nice to hear more songs like “Collapse” on the record.
As a punk musician one really does need to pick a version of punk and at least stay with it awhile, learn its in’s and out’s. I kinda feel that’s what Dope Francis is trying to sort out by the time The Hot Carl EP gets to its fourth and final song, “Crawling up the Walls” which sounds like the Sex Pistols in the chorus but completely loses its edge by turning a bit weepy with the verses.
Dope Francis is a young band and seems to be trying to find their footing. It’s not uncommon. The Hot Carl EP is rife with bright spots and gleams with influences that if the band is willing to follow and stick with I think it will make their second offering that much better.
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