‘Stephen Hawking’ sees Francobollo succeed in their ambition to conjure a mainstream-friendly indie sound with a hint of the underground
here’s been a slightly naff staccato riff ‘assault’ prominent among the indie pretenders of the last decade, as though The Wombles decided to form a Blur cover band out of old sweet wrappers. The idea had charm, but the application a sort of hollow addiction that had you desperately clawing at the corners of the songs for some substance.
Thankfully Francobollo are of the new breed of indie artist, unafraid to throw in references to past greats but as means to augment roots that are forged in the indie artists that existed outside of the top 10. Where bands like Kasbian aped mainstream acts like Oasis and saw little need for delving into guitar pop’s gritty underbelly, après like Francobollo also make nods to bands like Cap’n Jazz and Pavement.
Stephen Hawking may not be original, but it feels like it’s at least making an effort to be a little different. Like Superfood, Francobollo sit in the happy middle ground of having crunchy guitars that have no objection to being underpinned by a catchy melody. As such it occupies an area that scoffs at the lack of ambition of mainstream pretenders, while asking the indie-rock underground whether they don’t have the desire to be heard by more than a handful of scatty punks.
Stephen Hawking is mainstream enough to be infectious but vital enough not to be naff. In short, it’s a very modern indie-rock song.
Verdict: Indie-rock that’s very much of the now