Scratched Matinée is the name of the new project from British guitarist Chris Francis, whose previous two CDs are all-instrumental affairs: 2001's Chris Francis and 2006's Studs n' Sisters. This is very nearly a one-man project, Francis plays/programs everything and does the recording, mnixing and mastering. To prevent this from becoming simply the Chris Francis show, he has brought in Phil Philsworth to do lead vocals and Racquel Roberts on backing vocals.
The music is decent enough, perhaps lacking the verve brought by a band. The style of rock is guitar dominated, as you might expect, and theatrical in a Queen sort of way. A small section of the album, in particular after the opening track, tends to heavier guitar but, for me, this is not the most successful style on this occasion, lacking the ability to inspire. On the other hand, the music benefited from the interest brought by the theatrical element, so it is just as well that this dominates compositionally.
Overall, the album put me in mind of Rausch's album from last year – that too was partly Queen-inspired, though for me its piano/keyboard led assault was overall more pleasing than Notes From the Incurable.
If you are a fan of Queen and/or you enjoyed the Rausch album, it may pay you to check out Francis's website. I note he now says that the "album has been scratched indefinately", but you may be able to source it from elsewhere still.
2) Scarlet Ice
4) Those Long Winter Evenings....
5) Horror Show
6) New Moon Monday
7) Mother Medicine
8) Theatre Insane
10) Mr Spencer
11) The Artist's Bride
12) Summer Days
13) Last Respects