Sage Francis – Copper Gone
Sage Francis returns with a new album on Scroobius Pip's Speech Development, putting paid to the notion that his step back from the constant grind of touring was also the point at which he hung up his mic. On the evidence of Copper Gone, Francis is back on top form, spitting the kind of melancholic, philosophical couplets which made him the go-to emcee for literate lyrics laced with dense, allusive layers of meaning.
Opener Pressure Cooker has him spitting about profit and loss over chopped indie rock guitars. Grace has a killer vocal hook and dark, descending piano chords, Francis reflecting on "the difference between confession and conjecture," the twin poles of his poetry. The electro-flavoured Cheat Code is another highlight; as is the intense, angry Dead Man's Float and the propulsive, energised Over Under; while Buck 65's Make 'Em Purr runs on soft pianos, gently yearning. His most consistent album since Human The Death Dance. [Bram E. Gieben]