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It is a glorious day when not one, but TWO Francis Lung LP's land on my desk. Former member of well-respected Manchester music-maestros Wu Lyf, now pulling out all the stops on his own terms. This one begins wtih the tender hazy balladry of 'Something Blue'. Softly plucked guitars, swelling lap-steel and McLung's pitch-perfect silken vocal wanderings. It's a subtlly morose but chillingly effective starting point, setting the scene in terms of melodicism and tentative optimism. 'Where Life Comes To Live' follows up with Americana tinged guitar strums and slide-guitar / vocal counterpoints setting the backdrop to the skittering percussives and mellow instrumental wanderings before hushed vocals swim over the top.
'Over The Top' is quite frankly, a brilliant concept executed to perfection. So the story goes, McLung was sketching out a vague idea for a song when the phone rang, upon answering it the sketch languished before being feverishly revisited at some inoppotune moment later. The concept for this one is that the initial sketch is what we hear when the track begins, in all it's solo acoustic glory, then the phone rings, McLung answers and is confronted with a complete re-write of the sketch on the other end of the line. It's a clever turnaround of the oft-overused intro riff / redux theme, and here it is bombastic, fully fledged and brilliantly enjoyable.
As if that wasn't worth the entry price alone (it is), there is another side to this vinyl record! (wonders never cease). Anway, 'Back One Day' is reminiscent of jagged indie-pop, with slo-mo drum stabs and jangles abound, interspersed with almost immobile swoony gloom. it's a delicate but perfectly handled mix of head-nodding indie pop and simmering unease, that seems all the better for the moments of optimistic respite.
The closing duo of 'Age Limits' and 'You Know What I Mean' feel like somewhat of a thematic comedown from the more sunny moments of this collection, with the gradual chord falls and simmering unease suddenly punctuated with rays of light on 'Age Limits' closing moments, and the saturated and brittle 'You Know What I Mean', almost entirely restricted to guitar and vocals, with sweeps of compressed bass closing things out in spectacular fashion.
A1 Something Blue 3:48
A2 Where Life Comes To Live 4:47
A3 Oh My Love 2:45
B1 Back One Day 3:37
B2 Age Limits 3:58
B3 You Know What I Mean 4:14