Franklin Delano

Like a Smoking Gun in Front of Me

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Italian quartet Franklin Delano recorded the basic tracks for their American debut album, Like a Smoking Gun in Front of Me, at home in Bologna, then took the unfinished songs with them to Chicago, where they handed them off to the experimental collective Califone, who finished the record with producer Brian Deck. Impressively, it doesn't sound like a half-baked remix album, or a stilted collaboration, but like the unique, organic work of a set of likeminded musicians. There are moments of self-indulgence -- the otherwise pretty opening track, "Call It a Day," fades into well over two minutes' worth of overdubbed drones, for no particular reason -- but most of Like a Smoking Gun in Front of Me has the gentle psychedelic haze of prime Mercury Rev or Grandaddy, tempered with a taste for squalling guitars and sustained keyboard chords that bring to mind Yo La Tengo, Antietam, and, indeed, Califone. At their best (the dreamy country-rock of "Sounds Like Rain" in particular), Franklin Delano make the listener interested in what they're going to sound like on their own.

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