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Nice Man- Sauchiehall and Hope (A Pop Opera)

Nice Man Cover When I was told that Francis had released a solo album, I went out to find a copy. This was where the problems came in. The album had only been released in Japan which is quite understandable. When I made a visit to Glasgow in August and met up with the Stewart family, the subject of Nice Man came up. Duglas told me that Francis was being very private about the album and Duglas had not been allowed to listen to it (Duglas goes into this on the sleeve notes rather humorously). Well I later emailed Francis to see if it was possible to get a copy from Japan or via Shoeshine and was relieved to hear that the record was coming out on Shoeshine later that year. So here it is a wonderful album for you to treasure.

I was expecting an album like the Cheeky Monkey release but I was wrong. What you get is an album by Cheeky Monkey, Speedboat, BMX Bandits, Radio Sweethearts, Michael Shelley and more in one but with everything by Francis. I am starting to think how we can just have Francis to replace everyone else due to his extraordinary talent as a singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. Of course the world wouldn't be half as good as it is without those artists but I just wanted to make a point.

The pure honesty, power pop, romanticness, and country influenced songs are so wonderful you just wouldn't believe it was possible. Some are so catchy you can't stop your leg from moving to the rhythm. I really just want to sing along to some of the songs at the top of my voice, Daydream Girls is an example of a perfect pop song coming in at under two and a half minutes.

That is in itself a novelty in the age of six minute grandiose tracks a lot of artists are releasing. In fact I don't think there is a track that exceeds three minutes on this record and there are 19 tracks. When you finish listening to the album the first time you wish this was a double album with twice as many tracks. Here the quality doesn't degrade with quantity, more the opposite.

It's a great album but there are always some tracks you like more than others. It's difficult but 'Girl, I'm In Love You', 'Watching the Band', 'Loser', 'Mine All Mine' are real favourites. I am just hoping that Francis is not going to do a Speedboat and disband after their first album. As the Spanish Nice Man fan at the Spitz showed, Francis is not short of fans. From a nice fan to a nice man, another nice record soon would be nice. For now just stick it on 'repeat' in your CD player.
Nice man inner sleeve
Sauchiehall & Hope is out now on Shoeshine Records (Shoecd013), mail order available from the Shoeshine Records Website
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