Published Jun 02, 2014Sage Francis is back with a vengeance on sixth outing Copper Gone. A four-year sabbatical had Francis dropping retirement hints after 2010's punk-inflected stylistic departure Li(f)e, and Copper Gone is devoid of the indie-rock backdrop of that effort which caused some friction among his fan base. Longtime Sage devotees will no doubt be ecstatic with opener "Pressure Cooker," as the Providence, Rhode Island-based emcee seethes with righteous indignation, sounding almost unhinged as he declares "if anger is a gift, I'm very gifted, and if ignorance is bliss I'm a sadomasochist" over hard-as-nails Cecil Otter production.
It's that sense of fury and Francis's trademark soul-baring honesty that drives the album's best cuts. "Cheat Codes" and "Vonnegut Busy" are both taut and tough showcases for Francis' devastating lyrical technique, ultra-dense wordplay and his uncanny ability to make the most oft-discussed and inflammatory political issues stingingly personal. That personal bent adds authenticity to "Make Em Purr," an intimate examination of loneliness made even more poignant thanks to Buck 65's sparse production and the haunting break-up cut "Grace." Copper Gone is definitely a high point in Sage Francis's already significant career. (Strange Famous)