Review Archive

‘Alcatraz’ from Franc Cinelli - inspired by Alcatraz legends

(March 29, 2013)

Listen to the EP ‘Alcatraz’ from Franc Cinelli and before long before you’re right there – sucked into Alcatrazthe wave of emotions experienced by inmates incarcerated inside that notorious prison. There’s a palpable sadness and forlorn sense of longing in these songs yet at the same time there's a sense of defiance. Feelings of despair engendered by men lost in darkness, without freedom and bereft of hope - except that which lives inside their heads.

The opener ‘Dear Warden’ reflects one way to deal with a prison sentence and the mournful vocals perfectly convey the feeling echoed by the soundbites of banging prison doors, the same is true of ‘Birdman’ – its bluesy tone recounting the story of Robert Stroud known as the "Birdman of Alcatraz" (actually he kept his birds in Leavenworth prison). The tempo comes up with the acid-edged truth of ‘Lie To You’ with its harmonica breaks between punchy vocals, and ‘The Ballad of John Giles’ complete with sea and gulls, relating an escape attempt by a convict in a stolen Army uniform boarding a boat that had called at Alcatraz.

This is an enterprising EP – selecting stories from the wealth of tales surrounding Alcatraz and its inmates. The chosen narratives are interesting and Franc’s voice carries all the angst necessary to create the impression of men locked behind the island’s imposing walls.

Reviewer: Tom Franks

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