Independent Clauses | n. —unusual words about underappreciated music

Page France-Come, I’m a Lion!

November 28, 2004

pagefranceBand Name: Page France
Album Name: Come, I’m a Lion!
Best element: Ethereal, trance-inducing mood.
Genre: Acoustic pop/folk
Website: michaelsnau@yahoo.com
Label name: Alvah Recordings
Band e-mail: michaelsnau@yahoo.com

Occasionally, a band comes along that makes me wonder why they haven’t been discovered yet. Some bands are just too amazingly talented, amazingly hip, amazingly ‘in’, and amazingly talented to be left in obscurity. Then I realize that because they’re amazingly talented, they probably have an inordinate amount of dignity, which means that they could never sell out to corporate types.

That’s definitely Page France. Page France plays a unique brand of acoustic pop/folk that is helplessly charming, disarming, and smile-inducing. The focus of this album is not on deep lyrics- the deft wordplay used here forms songs that don’t make any sense at all. Each verse and chorus seems to be a separate idea, and nothing ever flows. That’s not to say the lyrics are bad; on the contrary, they’re highly quotable and enjoyable. Just don’t try to find any cohesive meaning throughout a song.

No, the focus here is on the jubilant guitar exultations of Michael Nau, the head behind Page France. Nau’s guitar compositions are playful, comfortable, and strangely endearing- it sounds like a fairy tale on tape. The dramatic, profound “Love and Interruption” has a solid base of upbeat guitar, upon which is layered warbly, silly electric guitar notes and a simplistic cymbal hit as a guitar line. It sways like the ocean and it feels like a good nap- it’s the quintessential relaxation song.

But if you’re into something with substance, something with intense songwriting skill, check out the album-topping “Bridge”, which boasts a delicate guitar line accented by both male and female vocals. The melody here is downright beautiful, and the synthesizers charm the feel of the ocean right out of the Pacific. Once the sincere female vocals chime in, the song is already melting the listener into a puddle. The song crescendos even more, and it’s a little slice of bliss as Nau pours out “Oh I don’t feel a thing, but I want to be real, as you are….as you are…” It just doesn’t even match up to the words I’ve put with it- it’s so good.

The rest of the tracks here are all just as good, based mostly off soft drumming, full, yet never loud, guitars, quirky melodies, and tasteful synthesizer arrangements. “Air Pollution” features a choir in the background of the chorus- “Slippery” bounces like a basketball and is much more charming. “We Remain as Two” is a simply stunning piano elegy- the hushed piano and lackadaisical melody fuse together to form a beautiful, beautiful cap to a great album.

If you’re a listener, Page France’s debut is something to get, and quick. If you’re an acoustic guitar player, this is something to aspire to. If you’re a record label exec, this is something to look into- because this is something irresistible. No one can resist the playful charm of Page France’s “Come, I’m a Lion!”- everyone falls prey to the beautiful acoustic pop/folk.

-Stephen Carradini

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Stephen Carradini and friends write reviews of bands that are trying to make the next step in their careers.

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