Sam Francis- Pure Masonic Zeal!
Record Label: I Had An Accident Records
Release Date: July 28, 2009
Pure Masonic Zeal! exclaims Sam Francis; his latest release on the tiny I Had An Accident Records. An intriguing title that comes from an obsession Francis has with conspiracy theories. Despite this obsession the album itself is not about conspiracy theories but more appropriately about obsessions surrounding stimulus packages, end of the world fanaticism, and stream of consciousness. Upon listening we are exposed to an eclectic mind obviously influenced by classical folk and the beatnik era pulling out lyrical styling similar to Bobby Dylan.
The album begins with "Our Nebula"; a keyboard driven solo with a repeating guitar riff and some sort of moaning that captures the listener's attention quickly. Immediately following is two upbeat songs "Koshabox" and "El Productivo". These two songs are paired great together and although I cannot figure out what the subject of these songs are the rhythm is very catching. The album comes to a jolting stop with "Our Gold Standard", a languid ballad calling for sports players to pay off the national debt. The album picks up a little bit with "Gym Days", a song that revisits some of the difficulty of high school and how we grow up and move on yet those days seem to linger.
"Close the Deal" brings back what "Koshabox" and "El Productivo" had - a certain zeal and progression that brings the album back to life. The most bizarre track off the album is "Meteor and the Mysterio". It is with this track that we must truly agree that Francis is a strange man with a warped psyche. It is an interesting song about the end of the world. The album ends as it starts with another keyboard driven solo "Sea of Orange".
The album has a real Catcher in the Rye type feel - this is not the typical pop album - it suspends contemporary a definitive coming-of-age masterpiece that explores the underlying psychology of everyday life and the harrowing fear of having to grow up. The album feels like it could have been the soundtrack to Catcher in the Rye during the year that is was written. Grab a cigar and settle in to a nice bottle of Scotch and prepare for Pure Masonic Zeal!