Although more renowned for his work with Swervedriver, Adam Franklin has continued to make music under various guises since, whether it be under Toshack Highway (in case you hadn't guessed, Franklin is an avid supporter of Liverpool Football Club), or more recently collaborating alongside Interpol's Sam Fogarino with The Setting Suns/Magnetic Morning project. For the past three years he's also embarked on what was initially seen as his solo phase, but since evolved into a more band orientated venture with Bolts Of Melody.
While long time associate and Sianspheric mainman Locksley Taylor has been the only ever-present since 2007's self-titled debut, Franklin's band has now morphed into a more settled line-up, New York based bass player Josh Stoddard bringing along fellow members of his other incarnation The Still Out in the shape of the multi-faceted Matt Sumrow and drummer Mikey Jones, while pedal steel maestro Gerald Menke - whose previous work has included the likes of Mercury Rev, Super Furry Animals and the M Shanghai String Band - completes the current six-piece.
What this makes for is a diverse collection of songs that quite possibly represents Franklin's most satisfying body of work in almost two decades. While 2009's Spent Bullets hinted at a more introspective angle to the full throttle, psychedelia drenched rock and roll of yore, I Could Sleep For A Thousand Years combines all the elements of his past combined with a more melodic outlook suggesting Bolts Of Melody contain all the necessary ingredients to at least match Swervedriver's acclaimed output.
Where its predecessor owed much to Franklin's devout obsession with Scott Walker, I Could Sleep... is perfectly pitched between the frazzled Americana of My Morning Jacket and the no frills lo-fi of Dinosaur Jr. The layered riffs of opener 'Yesterday Has Gone Forever', a moody rocker closest in spirit to Swervedriver than anything else here coupled with 'I'll Be Yr Mechanic''s rallying cry of "When it all goes up in flames!" creating a false impression of familiarity for any listener hoping for Mezcal Head part two.
However, instead of continuing at a breakneck pace, I Could Sleep For A Thousand Years takes a more reflective path courtesy of the semi-acoustic 'She's Closer Than I've Ever Been', Gerald Menke's country stylings rising to the fore instantaneously. Likewise, both 'I Want You Right Now' and 'Mary Gunn' are two of the most overt love songs Franklin has ever penned, carry a more lucid statement of intent culminating in the latter's heartfelt riposte "Don't tell me you won't be my lover".
Franklin's rock roots are explored once more in the second half of the record, with 'Sinking Ships' and the closing 'Take Me To My Leader' both bursting with the vigour and exuberance of a youthful newcomer rather than experienced campaigner at the helm. It's the delightful lullaby of 'Carousel City' and Besnard Lakes collaboration 'Lord Help Me Jesus I've Wasted A Soul' that really demonstrate what a poised record Franklin has conjured up here. While the former's instinctive harmonies aren't a million miles away from Ride's more potent moments, the latter's hazy psychedelia feels like a dream set to music, that while not exactly falling into line with the shoegaze ethos, is perhaps the nearest Franklin has ever gotten to the much-maligned genre he regularly finds himself mismatched with.
I Could Sleep For A Thousand Years is a record Adam Franklin can be thoroughly proud of, not least as a remarkable illustration that his days as a reputable songwriter are from over.
8Dom Gourlay's Score