Studs n' Sisters Review
Barry McMinn for The Mayfair Mall Webzine.doc
Those of you into the whole melodic rock scene will be more than familiar with the name of Chris Francis from his days with TEN and the contributions he made to the four albums he played on and the live shows he did from the bars and clubs to the full stadium events. Francis has done it all as well as being an accomplished guitarist, he's has also put his hand to producing and song writing.
'Studs n' Sisters' is Francis’s second solo outing and follows his debut release simply entitled ‘Chris Francis’. 'Studs n' Sisters' is a very mature guitar album that doesn’t over do the solo’s, which keeps the whole thing on a very ear friendly basis that is sometimes lacking on some instrumental albums, which in turn makes for a more accessible album to the layman who isn’t a guitar wiz at home but who just likes to hear a guitar played well and not over the top.
Things get underway with ‘Pickle And Baby Bear’ an amusing intro that breaks the album in gently before things get underway proper with the title track ‘Studs n' Sisters’ and instantly you draw similarities the Extremes 'Pornograffitti' album with a little Steve Vai thrown in with this one. The track also has an air of maturity in the guitar playing that I really like and this trait is found throughout the entire album.
Things continue to impress with ‘Sometime Lady Crazy’ that takes you away from the more Melodic Rock side of the album to a more Hard Rock feel that is very reminiscent once again of Vai’s style of guitar playing, flying seamless licks mixed with a head drum beat provided by Frank Basile, great stuff.
I can't say how much I enjoyed this album the mixture of styles and tempo’s makes for great listening as things get a little funky on ‘Light it Up’ with its added horns is very early Little Angels, all I was waiting for on this one was for Toby Jepson to add some vocals.
The album does have a mellow side as shown on the wonderful ‘Used-To- Be’ with its soar away moments that really make the track for me, then things get rockier again with Chris taking on Eddie Van Halen on ‘Lift The Dogs’.
It's back to the more mellower vibe with the haunting ‘Riding For A Fall’ before rocking it up with the bluesy ‘You Can Dance Better Than That’. Both totally different ends of the spectrum, but both equally superb pieces, but the real barnstormer of the album for me is the metal infused ‘Death Bitch’, this is where Francis really pulls out all the stops with a real headbangers delight and the added excepts from the film of the same name add to the metal edge.
It's back to the humorous side of Francis as we return to the Karaoke bar for the short interlude ‘Sunday Nite @ the Sauceboat’, before the surprise package of the album the much rocked up version of ‘Material Girl’, which is just fantastic and shows the confidence of the man's guitar skills to pull this one off.
The album closes with a bonus track ‘Deleted Scenes’, a seven minute lick fest as Francis once again pulls out all the stops on this one and which rounds off a very impressive guitar album that should and will appeal to a wide array of people not just the muso’s