FRANK BANGO The Unstudied Sea (Sincere)

Rock ‘n’ roll is often regarded as brusque and barbaric, appealing to the nether regions below the waist rather than the mind, heart or soul. This impression resides in an analysis of words and music. Artists like Frank Bango should be lauded for their attempts to stem the tide by bringing intelligence and elegance into the amorphous creature that is modern rock and pop music.

Bango’s nasal vocal delivery will no doubt continue to draw favourable comparisons with Elvis Costello and whilst Costello’s work certainly informs Bango’s own compositional style, Bango’s greater reliance on baroque and chamber pop elements set him somewhat apart.

Thus, stellar material like the Nick Drake evoking “A Clear Eye For Daisy,” cynical merseybeat-y “Are You Now Or Have You Ever Been,” the fragile bittersweet “The Lottery Pieces,” the stark and lonely “The Little Tears In Champagne” and the prickly spiky Beatlesque “Always Looking Up” share a stripped down quality where strings weave in and out to provide emotional ambience and atmosphere.

One for the serious and studied. ( B+