Today, North-East London singer, songwriter and producer Fran Lobo announces the release of her long-awaited debut album ‘Burning It Feels Like’ out on August 18th. To celebrate, she shares the stunning new track and accompanying short film ‘Tricks’.
Since Fran put out her debut EP, Beautiful Blood, back in 2015, and her later releases, most notably the breathy, enticing beauty of 2020’s ‘Brave EP‘, she found fans at Radio 1, The Guardian, Dazed, The FADER, and has been a regular on London’s indie circuit. In February 2023, Fran released the bewitching self-produced and self-directed prelude to the album’s unique world ‘All I Want’ which is now followed by haunting ballad ‘Tricks’.
“‘Tricks’ is inspired by a 1970s kind of songwriting sensibility. It’s classic in its structure but with weird production and sound design. It’s direct and vulnerable and it explores those ‘tricks’ where you’re playing mind games with yourself, world-building in your head. It’s theatrical and dark, it’s me taking the piss out of myself whilst playing on fairy tales, the idea of the ‘crazed woman’ and unrequited love/ love addiction.”
Lobo delivers with her signature powerful vocals and exquisite production that sparkles with surreality. Additional writing and production from artist/producer Sam Beste (Joy Crookes, Gabriels, Kano) takes us deeper into the distant memory void. The accompanying self-directed film by Lobo is a continuation of her movement collaboration with multidisciplinary artist Jeanie Crystal who choreographed and starred in ‘All I Want’.
Speaking about the video, Fran explains:
“I wanted this to be a performance video, and to showcase the internal struggle between two characters of the psyche. I was inspired by big 90s pop music videos as well as musical theatre, glam rock and Disney films. Think Shakespeare’s Sister meets Phantom Of The Opera. It’s a bit Jekyll and Hyde, Beauty and the Beast, an interaction between different voices in your head, building mirror worlds and playing tricks on yourself”
★’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.
★ FOLLOW FRAN LOBO ★