[27 June 2012]
A noisy, violent and at times atonal product of a two-night jam session at an East London cafe, St. Francis Duo is a jarring listening experience for the first three minutes, and it doesn’t let up from there. But while guitarist Stephen O’Malley, with his main project Sunn 0))), has shown that jarring can be good, here jarring turns into annoying not long into the one hour and twenty minute recording. Both he and drummer Steve Noble clearly have command over their instruments; O’Malley’s guitar tone is as brilliant as it’s ever been, and Noble crafts some interesting percussive patterns. Unfortunately, the two aren’t always in sync, resulting in what sounds like something that needed more time to develop. Diehard fans of either musician are likely to find something genius in this, but even those with a taste for the avant-garde will likely be put off by this mess.