by Philip Moss
Having your music released by Basin Rock – the same label that brought us records by the likes of Nadia Reid, Julie Byrne and Johanna Samuels – places a certain amount of pressure on Aoife Nessa Frances. But it’s proved to be absolutely no issue for the Irish songwriter who stuns on this magnificent debut.
Lead single, Blow Up, will appeal to fans of Aldous Harding – such are the similarities in Frances’ dust covered voice. But there’s more to the Dublin based artist than mere comparisons. The rolling acoustic guitar and gentle percussion provide a backdrop for a hard narrative (‘Blow up, woman… tired of being human, lesser than man’) that – at her time of her writing, before the Irish abortion referendum – affected women across her homeland.
Other highlights include opener, Geranium, which hinges on a looping drum machine, evocative backwards guitars and sensual Cate Le Bon-alike vocals, and the psych leanings of Libra. While the infectious single, Here In The Dark, which has the same sweeping feel that was found on Weyes Blood’s enigmatic Titanic Rising.
The title that Frances settled on for her debut album, Land of No Junction, came from mishearing a story told by co-producer and collaborator, Cian Nugent. But in order to make sure there’s absolutely no confusion, we must make one thing very clear: simply put, this is one of the first must listens of 2020.
Secret Meeting score: 82