Hands up all you Old Folk who remember Quintessence.
Well, it’s my contention that if you were into them, you’ll love Jules Franks’ music. It’s a special kind of Fusion drawing on lots of different traditions, pulled together and set behind songs carrying universal and very straightforward spiritual and mystical messages.
To illustrate the width of Jules’ musical spectrum I’ll simply say that the stunning opening track entitled ‘Pretender to the Throne’ sounds a bit like Hildegard von Bingen Takes the Hippy Trail to The Ministry of Sound. It’s always a good policy to put a really powerful track at the head of the album to grab the attention of the new listener, but it’s important to ensure that what follows will maintain that interest once grabbed.
I’m pleased to report that Jules Franks manages to do this admirably by varying the tempo, the mood and the rhythm throughout the 6 tracks of this very accomplished album. Jules provides the main vocals, plays all percussion (often treated electronically) including drums and tabla, as well as keyboards and calls on a variety of help to augment the sound with various guitars and other stringed instruments, clarinet and backing vocals as the different numbers require. He’s hoping to assemble a touring band to be able to reproduce the range of sounds he achieves on record live. This will be a great achievement and I look forward experience to seeing these great songs performed onstage.
There have been all too few groups playing such wide-ranging and uplifting cerebral rock since the Punk discontinuity successfully brought several interesting lines of musical exploration of this nature to an effective end or at least moved it far, far away from any musical mainstream. Perhaps Jules Franks starting with this record will help put them back on the map.