The soft and sensual voice of Robert Francis serenades you from the outset and the emotional significance of this record is immediately evident. These are the first impressions from Francis’ latest record Heaven, technically his fourth release but first as Robert Francis and The Night Tide. Heaven is produced by Francis himself and has come following a break which saw him “lose myself in order to rediscover who I was in the beginning”.
Opening song Something Tells It Not To is a short 1:17 track with a heavy mood and soft piano. You can only assume the song rings true to Francis’ recent period of rediscovery and is a personal ode with lyrics like “the hearts got to wonder just to know where it’s from”. The rest of the album is slightly more upbeat, Baby Was The Devil follows at number two and again you can’t help but draw parallels between the very telling lyrics and Francis’ own personal life. It is this type of honesty and intensity that carries through the entire album and provides the hook.
When listening you can feel a slight country-twang to some songs, such as Love Is A Chemical. If you have the chance, take a listen to Johnny Cash and see if you can feel some similarities, I know I certainly can! Ukiah and Take You To The Water are great tracks. You really get a sense of Francis’ musical breadth; his vocal tempo is perfect on this track. The opening guitar for Ukiah is quite funky and is reminiscent of a Tarantino flick.
Jumping to the end of the album I’ve Been Meaning To Call is a perfect example of that deep and heavy mood Francis has brought to Heaven. This track is a massive story told with a mix of harmonic and non-sequitur singing style accompanied by a delicate guitar. Give You My Love is another haunting track that peaks your interest, perfectly controlled vocals take you through this tale with the same emotional conscious as Francis himself.
A real heart-in-hand, emotional and complete album you will feel closer to Robert Francis after Heaven. It can be a burden to listen to music packed with such emotional turmoil; your personal mood will affect the way you interpret and enjoy each of his tracks. Regardless, Francis has demonstrated great musical talent and a high level of maturity in Heaven, there is no denying that.