The Francis Wolves - Valley Heat

Fusion at its finest

The Garage-Afro-Soul band The Francis Wolves have just released a new single, and it’s pretty funky. Moreover, though, Valley Heat stays rather true to a fundamental Afro sound throughout the entire record, with an evident emphasis on the Jazz side of this genre.  Whilst elements of soul do become prevalent in the Single, I would not classify it into the soul genre, as the tranquil movement of the song allows these soul fragments to be effortlessly overheard. The song is nothing unexpected, and definitely not what I had in mind when I first realized that this was a Garage-Afro-Soul band, but it is certainly not dreary either. Simultaneously, funky bits and pieces of melody and rhythm do shine through the jazz-focused main layer of the single. I would have expected further predominant drumming beats, which are usually so common in the experimental, alternative and African-influenced disco that this genre was derived from. In reality, I think that this song would be perfect in a lounge setting, allowing people to speak over the easy rhythmic melodies that are captivated in Valley Heat. On top of that, the saxophone solo on the track is a killer, taking me right back into the time period I should probably have been born into: the late 60’s. This track will either sweetly whisper into your ear until relaxation grasps your state of mind, or until you insensibly fall asleep. Nevertheless, it is not an unpleasant song, especially for those longing for a tranquil afternoon filled with calamity and carelessness. The combination of the different genres could shine through more, but this tune is, at the least, an interesting exploration of fundamental establishments of a variety of music.

The Francis Wolves other single is entitled Deep in the Ju Ju, and the song does come with a jungle vibe and an adventurous kind of feel. Immediately I feel that whilst this song remains on the same train as Valley Heat, this one would be played in first class. This track is more upbeat and uplifting than the previous single, and the jazz-lounge atmosphere is much less established here. In fact, I can imagine that the song’s saxophone and drum combinations, which provide a rich texture of sound that reminds one of literally walking through the jungle, is an encouragement to listeners. Potentially, they’d even get up off on their feet and give those good old hips a swing or two. Deep in the Ju Ju is a much better representation of the different genres explored by the band, and I feel that it gives each category in Garage-Afro-Soul a louder voice. 

The possibility remains that the genre title Garage-Afro-Soul may be a little misleading for these two singles, as you would expect some heavier basslines and rhythms, instead of Jazz filled tunes. Maybe it is the lack of vocals that shaped my sensation that there was something missing. However, the singles bring with them an unquestionable wave of comfort and serenity, and for those feeling a little adventurous, perhaps even some dancing feet.

- Tara Zupp


Album Details

Album Title: Valley Heat - Single
Artist: The Francis Wolves
Record Label: Independant