This Is How I Let You Down is Montreal-based alternative folk-pop band The Franklin Electric’s debut album. The band is headed up by Jon Matte on vocals, piano and trumpet, with Liam Killen on drums and vocals, Alexis Messier on guitar, and Martin Desrosby on bass. Matte is also the songwriter, plus he produced the album.
I was taken a bit by surprise with this one. Folk-pop can go one of two ways for me, and when it goes wrong for my ears, it’s near impossible for me to retrieve any sense of fondness. This, however, was love at first listen. Right from the opening moments of “Strongest Man Alive” I was on board and, happily, never wanted to get off.
Trumpet is another one of those hit-or-miss things for me. Sometimes it conjures up images of the claustrophobic terror of shopping centre elevators and muzak. Jon Matte, it needs to be said, plays a mighty fine trumpet and it is perfectly woven throughout this album.
Second track “Unsatisfied” is one of my favourites, with soaring vocals punctuated by snappy drums. The addition of an orchestral remix of the song at the end of the album is a delightful bonus. Matte’s lyrics throughout the album are pretty delicious, but “Alone” is probably my pick (it’s honestly hard to pick a favourite) with, “There’s a voice that I heard and it’s calling from underneath my feet, and I’m surrounded by these images of these perfect people that I’m supposed to be”.
I could listen to Jon Matte’s voice forever. It’s one of those impeccable voices that reaches through your heart and grabs hold, with both hands, to your soul. I’m gutted beyond measure that I missed the band when they recently toured Australia, but I’ll be actively seeking them out next time around.
This album feels like a summer road trip, or a blissfully lazy lie-in on a weekend, or fresh sheets on the bed. It’s delicious, rich, and immersive. Moments like this, with this album, makes me love this job more than ever. I love this album. Love.