Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Sound engineering by Patrick Stolley
These are not heavy times that New York band Frances sinks its teeth into, even if they should be. There are wars and people lost at sea. There are ghosts and there are the older men/the old boats who skip breakfast to rest their bodies after long nights of taking plug after plug from brown bottles, drinking with a cadre of imaginary friends. It carries with it a feeling that there are all kinds of phantoms floating in and out of inspection, covered in glowing and tattered linens, howling and blowing their pains in a way that's never all that threatening, for they're phantoms and they have no mass, just ire. Within the songs of Frances are all sorts of gorgeous free-flying melodies and whimsy as if there's no way that these bothersome intrusions - the ghosts and the abusive drinking, the soreness and the hushed sours - are going to have anything that could be considered an effect on a brighter day. It's as if all of the songs start out in the morning, a clear-blue son of a gun, with luxurious temperatures, no impatience in the air, no real responsibilities until after the first two cups of coffee have kicked in and yet there's a grating mood hanging about. Perhaps it had been a long night, with all that drinking, and perhaps the morning had come knocking a few hours too early - bleating its distress signal and flashing its sun through the shutters like a crazed hobo - but despite all intentions of staying in the dumps, fighting the day to the bone and ignoring all niceties, the day can't be avoided and the good drops the bad to the floor. It doesn't take long. Frances songs double as these pieces of ambrosia - drenched in icing and holy waters - and these hints of darker passions, or the recognition and following of such things personally and in others. They flow like sweet liquor and stomp around like addictive pop, cooing and sweeping us off our feet with its spilling of heart charms and honest inebriation. There's a cool autumn breeze blowing through all of the songs on "All The While," taming any of the agitations that might have been there in the inceptions. There's longing and drowning and a boundless amount of sundried space to all of it and that's where it leaves you, with the phantoms buzzing, just muted.
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