Luckily, once Todd et al’s faux jailbird-isms took a distinctly more realistic turn – aided by the help of a few metallic bars and that worryingly frayed soap on a rope – those scrawny, muscle-less arms became an altogether more appealing proposition. Yet, for many, the scars of those school day denials still ache and a sense of charred self-preservation has muscled its way into the caring words and cradling hugs, giving the ladies a bit of brute to accompany that much maligned sensitivity. It’s just a shame no one told Eugene Francis Jnr.
The Welshman’s debut solo LP The Golden Beatle is immersed in the kind of wishy-washy balladry that had Alan McGee denouncing Coldplay as heinous batch of bladder-bursting mattress soakers – only worse. Much, much worse. Every track here is riddled with weepy love-struck lyricism that has hip-joined young couples clinging to one another at the end of a cosy wine-filled eve; eyes bulging with tears and heads full of nothing but insipid, box-ticking melody all pristinely packaged and despatched with all the careful intention of a sample bound bowel movement.To give Francis his dues, his intentions are unflappable from the off. Opener ‘Savour’ finds him proclaiming “I’ll savour the day when I met you and I never will neglect you” to his feline of choice as a stream of spacious, downtrodden folk wails mournfully below his crystal clear tones. More frantic of pace, follow up ‘The Beginners’ continues this outwardly amorous ambition, with the Welsh-born troubadour declaring “I'll tell you one thing, I love you more than her” as he holds on to his missus, Pritt Stick-like, “every day”. And that’s the moment you feel it - a menacing gloop of vomit lodging deep within the back of your throat, threatening to project itself gusher-like into the world outside.
Admittedly, ‘Kites’ and ‘Turned Around’ are blessed with a star-lit subtlety that would blend effortlessly into the bleeding-hearted country-isms of Lightspeed Champion or The Thrills. But so whiney and cliché-riddled is the premise behind the soap-box standing ‘My Own Pollution’ and ‘I’m Macculate’’s relentless, stomach churning stodge that Francis’ open-soul mewings seem intent on hoodwinking weakened listeners into cherishing each tear-jerking lament as moments against which relationship ‘stages’ can be plotted.
Rating: 3/10Out now through Legion