Francis Neve - Dance Around the Fire EP Review

Francis Neve returns to us following his last release 'The Second Time We First Met' with the new EP 'Dance Around the Fire'. On it, Neve himself has admitted to his music taking on a darker, moodier sound, and it shows. The package we have here is the aforementioned titular song; a new track called 'I Lie' and two remixes of a track Neve has previously recorded: 'Bryan's Drying Up'.

So, there's good news and bad news. I'll begin with the bad: the curse of the remix strikes again. The two remixes presented here contain no substance whatsoever, and sound like meaningless sonic drivel. The first being a straight house/dance remix and the second incorporating elements of dub, they sound like the kind of music you would expect to hear on a loop in the background of a musically pretentious club. There it can stay. I don't 'get' it, as it were, and I fail to see what's to 'get'.

So, the good news. The good news is that the main substance of the single is two very competent, listenable alternative indie tracks. 'Dance Around the Fire' begins with a swirling, fuzzy sounding, cymbal-heavy intro, and continues into a track that flows very well, the vocals resounding clearly and effortlessly above. The structure is also familiar, verse-chorus-verse and becomes gradually more accessible on each listen. The main gem here though, is 'I Lie', an atmospheric, moody track. Distorted vocals are resonant over a great backing track that wouldn't sound out of place in an independent horror flick, perhaps in a scene where a very angry main character is walking down a rain-drenched street, or approaching the killer's domain. Or something like that. The track is not as simple as this, though, because as it progresses, not only does the drumbeat build up, but we are given plenty of subtle noises interwoven with the track. Towards the end, we see more synth come into play and it almost sounds like a brooding dance track, before abruptly ending; the listener firmly caught in its spell.