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June 24, 2009 at 2:27 pm #1138692bradsearsKeymaster
ARTS & EVENTS
Liner Notes: Adam Franklin, ‘Spent Bullets’
Adam Franklin photo by Johnny Moto
ADAM FRANKLIN HAS always sounded reserved, even when his previous band, Swervedriver, was crushing psychedelic riffs that sounded like The Stooges and Hawkwind engaged in a cosmic joy ride.
But with his new solo record, “Spent Bullets” (Second Motion), he’s finally nailed his laconic post-Swervedriver voice.
Perhaps it was because Swervedriver’s 2008 reunion tour went so well, or that his Magnetic Morning project with Interpol drummer Sam Fogarino was so well received, but Franklin’s songwriting on “Spent Bullets” is as confident as it is consistent, presenting 10 mostly midtempo songs that capture his folky, dreamy melodies and quietly soulful voice.
“Various people have said – and I agree – that it’s good that the whole album has a consistent sound,” Franklin said. “But the songs are from various periods – some of the songs are quite old – but somehow it all kind of all falls into place thematically. … But you never know quite how it’s going to turn out: You start recording and there’s one song you think might be the main song, then it falls by the wayside. Then another song that you think is a complete throwaway comes up at the last minute.”
When Swervedriver was on hiatus, Franklin started recording and touring under the name Toshack Highway – mostly because he felt odd about being a solo artist.
“When you go out under your own name – it feels a bit strange,” Franklin said. “That’s partly why I went for Toshack Highway initially, but then I thought people didn’t remember the name Toshack Highway. And basically when you’re a band on the road, and you’re at a truck stop, sitting down getting your coffee, and the waitress comes over and says, ‘Hey, are you guys in a band?’ And we say, ‘Yeah, we’re in a band.’ And she says, ‘What’s the name of the band?’ And it seems weird to say, ‘It’s named after him.’ Now we can say, ‘It’s named Bolts of Melody.’
So, you named your backing band based on the fear and loathing you’d receive from truck-stop waitresses?
“I suppose so,” Franklin laughed.
Express did manage to get the reserved Franklin to open up a bit with a track-by-track tour of “Bolts of Melody.”
Adam Franklin, Spent Bullets
The title is a pun because part of the melody is like a Serge Gainsbourg melody from a song called “Ah! Melody.” There’s a trumpet that comes up in that Serge Gainsbourg song, and that was developed into the main melody. We were looking for a title and “Surge” came up. Lyrics end up being pretty instinctive; they’re never really mapped out. Usually you write something and go, “that’s quite good,” and it ends up having a double meaning. I’m always quite fond of things, even in the simplest rock ‘n’ roll songs, that could have double meanings going on.
“Teardrops Keep Fallin’ Out My Head”
The title is another pun, on “Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head.” It’s a very simple, straight-ahead pop-rock / power-pop song, really. It all came together when I was looking for a line to sing, and then there was this tune that fit that melody.
“Bolts of Melody”
That tune was inspired by “Stephanie Says” by The Velvet Underground. That tune was knocking around for a while, also. We did the “Bolts of Melody” album , and then I had this melody line, [sings] “Melody waits.” And then I thought, “Hey, this song could be called ‘Bolts of Melody.’ I quite like the idea of having a song named after the previous album, which is kind of like The Doors, who had the album “Waiting for the Sun” and then the next album had the song “Waiting for the Sun” on it. But also, Bolts of Melody has become the default name for the band. The lyric “Bolts of Melody” comes from a Emily Dickinson poem – she coined that phrase. And I think it described the music really well.
“Autumn Leaf” [Click here to listen]
The first autum
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