A couple months ago, a friend of mine shared a music video with my by a band called Francis And The Lights. On first viewing, I thought that the video itself was fabulous, with a simple but sharp style that really focused things in on the music but was dramatic enough to leave an impression (and had some amazing dance moves at the end to boot). Don’t just take my word, though, it’s only two and a half minutes of your life.
After watching the video a couple times, I realized that the song itself had become lodged in my head, and I went through the other related pieces from the group, finding another amazing (but simple video) for “The Top” and discovering that the group had an album coming out soon.
With 8 songs running just over 26 minutes, It’ll Be Better hovers somewhere between a long EP and a full-length, but it’s absolutely packed full of hooks. As one might expect, the group (which seems to be a glorified solo project with several guest spots, at least on the album) centers around one Francis Farewell Starlite, a pompadoured fellow who croons it up and gets down and knows the power of a tight melody. Pretentious name aside, there’s no a lot of extraneous elements on the release at all, and while it is fairly brief in running length, it’s also much more varied than one might expect.
In addition to the aforementioned song, there are piano-driven pop cuts that sound culled directly from the 80s and enough keyboard funk to give the release the rather unique feeling that it could have been released any time in the past 30 or so years.
I’ve found myself playing the entire album from front to back a bunch of times, but I do have my favorites. “Knees To The Floor” hums along with some looped-sounding synth melodies and a simple beat and some great vocals before some little guitar fireworks light things up about halfway through and really shift the tone. There’s a bit of an Arthur Russell influence, but it’s melded into something even more pop-oriented and it’s by no means a bad thing.
“Knees To The Floor” – Francis And The Lights
On the other side of things is the album opener and album-titled “It’ll Be Better.” A slow burner with some choppy-chop snare hits and muffled electric guitar, it’s more about the vocals, and sets the stage nicely for things to come.
“It’ll Be Better” – Francis And The Lights
As mentioned above, it’s a brief album, but it’s incredibly catchy and only begs repeated replays. I know I’ve done my fair share of them and more.