Free and legal MP3: Francis and the Lights (minimalist, postmodern funk, w/ mysterious depth)

“Night Watchman” – Francis and the Lights

They’ve done it again: Brooklyn’s Francis and the Lights have woven enigmatic magic with the barest threads of their minimalist, postmodern funk. The melody is slower this time, but the beat remains the same, sustained by fidgety electronics, fat bass lines, and wonderfully controlled drumming. For this new single, front man Francis Farewell Starlite leaves behind the Prince-like falsetto in favor of his throaty, emotive lower register, once again singing a song that eschews a sense of recognizable structure. Just when you think you’re getting your arms around what’s going on, the thing ends, on a dime. After many listens, I find that I still can’t explain exactly what’s happening here. This strikes me as an appealing thing.

By the way, if you don’t tend to listen to the weekly picks here as a mini mixtape, one after the other, I suggest trying it this week. It’s a spiffy set.

Known for their stirring live performances, Francis and the Lights keep an intriguingly low web profile, although now at least we are offered up a straightforward picture of (I’m assuming) Francis himself. “Night Watchman” is available on the band’s site, and will be on a CD entitled A Modern Promise, to be released at some unspecified time in the, perhaps, near future. The record label, Normative, appears to be the band’s own imprint, and as such has an equally minimalist web site. MP3 via the band.

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