North-East London singer, songwriter and producer Fran Lobo today shares a brand new single and announces a headline London show. ‘Armour’ follows the previously released singles, the album’s unique world ‘All I Want’ and haunting ballad ‘Tricks’. All tracks are taken from her long-awaited debut album ‘Burning It Feels Like.’
‘Armour’ faces a lot of twists and turns, it’s a journey into the darkest depths and plastic highs with a drug like fantasy edge. The journey is charted by Lobo, taking on different characters on the dizzying theatrical trip. The last minute of the song whips the rug from under our feet and we realise that we are clawing our way back from and/or revelling in the pit.
‘Armour’ is a high energy surrealist composition that deals with the struggles to maintain self esteem, self worth and a sense of belonging in a world you feel alienated from, relying on other people’s approval and words like a drug.”
The track is accompanied by a dance film co-directed by Fran Lobo and movement artist Pierre Babbage starring Lobo, Lewis Walker and Shanley Jorge. The video sees Lobo traveling through London in search of her armour. She adds, “I took inspiration from jazz dance, DV8, musicals such as West Side Story, old horror films such as Possession as well as British film makers Andrea Arnold and Aneil Karia.”
★’BURNING IT FEELS LIKE’ ★ RELEASED ON AUGUST 18TH ★
Be it Disney movies, books or pop songs, so much art and culture has taught us that romantic love might save us from our troubles – and from ourselves. For Fran, this culminated in what she describes as a “love addiction”, frequently finding herself lost in the intoxicating, often unhealthy highs and lows of connections with other people. It is this sentiment and internal struggle which Burning It Feels Like ruminates on; interrogating, reflecting and making fun of herself for it. “I’m accentuating this slightly comical idea that, ‘oh, this person will save me!’”, she says. It’s a vividly drawn concept that plays out through her brilliantly mellifluous, elastic, looping voice over strange and stunning experimental pop that pulls from post-punk to lo-fi to shiny pop; touchstones include Kate Bush, Mariah Carey, Björk, Prince, Mica Levi, Tirzah, the warm spirituality of Alice Coltrane – and, of course, those starry-eyed Disney musicals.
Of Goan and Maharashtrian descent, Fran spent a lot of her childhood absorbing the sounds around her: her mum’s pop, Bollywood and R&B obsessions, her dad’s love of rock and country, her brother’s metal and nu-metal, alongside her own adoration for Spice Girls and TV shows like Girls Aloud-spawning Popstars: The Rivals. The result is that Fran’s own work is collagist and kaleidoscopic in nature, often taking unexpected twists into unfamiliar places, with songs sometimes imploding in on themselves. “Within every track, it became a theme of turning everything on its head; having an outro you wouldn’t expect, flipping the words a bit – this cut-paste collage where nothing is safe,” she explains.
This style is enhanced by Fran’s collaborative approach to her work; previously a part of Deep Throat Choir, she has worked as a choral conductor and composer whilst collaborating in the studio and on stage with many of her good friends like Lucinda Chua, Sam Beste, CJ Calderwood, Jemma Freeman, Francesca Ter-Berg, Laura Misch, Marysia Osu and Coby Sey all of whom appear on the album, building up an array of sounds with them. Vocalists Rahel, Abimaro and Auclair form the album’s magical choir, delivering luscious harmonies and arrangements which sweep beautifully over the record’s prismatic palette.
The record was written and produced by Lobo. Engineering duties fell to long-time collaborator Andy Ramsay of Stereolab and mixing was completed by regular studio partner Jimmy Robertson (both of whom also provided additional production, along with Sam Beste and Pascal Bideau). It is an album that is uncomfortable at times; raw and caustic in its lyrics while still generous and abundant in scope and sonics. The record’s title comes from Fran’s therapist asking her to identify how she was feeling when finding herself enamoured and building an internal fantasy about someone new; and also how she was feeling when she found herself in the same space as someone from her past – it all came back to that same sensory experience: burning. “The main feeling is burning,” Fran explains, “But also ‘it feels like’, because: is it real? Am I just imagining these things?”
Visceral, beguiling and dense with yearning, sometimes she glimmers like flames and sometimes she lets us fester in the ashes with her. An unflinching debut, Fran Lobo will have you feeling that burning too.
Fran will play a London headline show to celebrate the release of her album. The show, featuring special guests, is on Wednesday 27 September at Laylow. Sign up to Fran’s mailing list for exclusive access.
★ FOLLOW FRAN LOBO ★