Review of Fake Valentine in “Leonard’s Lair” (UK) (June 2005)
by Jonathan Leonard:
At the time of their best work, passionate singer-songwriters Scott Walker and John Howard were hardly overwhelmed with praise. That came later in life and their recordings are now coveted by many a music critic and band member alike. Little is known about David Francis’ past but judging by his work of today (not to mention his well-worn features) he follows that same lineage of classic songwriting. The title track is the ideal place to start; Francis’ voice is rich in world-weariness but it’s also characterised by a sense of innocence and grace. Other songs wear their 60s influences on their sleeves; “Reflections in the Mirror of the Life I’m Wearing” blatantly steals from the Kinks’ “Sunny Afternoon” whilst “Lines in Blue Ink” sees Francis revel in the easy listening surroundings. The piano ballad “They Both Agreed” is another fine moment but it pales in comparison to the ambitious orchestral movements of “Song for a Party Never Held;” a moment which proves he’s an arranger and a composer as well as a great singer. A mature album is expected from a mature musician but the sense of life and vigour is what makes Fake Valentine really stand out.