With their new EP, Like A Dream, Francis and the Lights have presented a set of radiantly colourful tracks that are soulful in spite of their minimalistic production.
If you check out the video clip for the title track, which opens the EP, you’ll see the silhouette of lead singer Francis Stalite dancing what looks like some kind of Irish jig through a large plantation for a few minutes. It seems a fitting image to accompany the song; the low-lying sun casts an afternoon glow that’s in tune with the hazy warmth of the vocals in the chorus, and the refined arms-by-your-sides nature of the dance is congruous with the very straight rhythms that pervade early on. The drumbeat morphs into a Stevie Wonder Superstition kind of feel though, giving new life to the dance and, in addition to the synth harmonies and the ‘woh-woh’s from the back up vocals, making it a very groovy piece of summery songwriting.
The laid-back feel in the next tune, If They Don’t Come Tomorrow, seems in conflict with the insecurity in the lyrics: ‘I always pack a suitcase, just in case they come’. The melody is rather bittersweet, and this, in addition to the piano chords happening underneath, makes the tune feel kind of like a broken down Elton John track.
The following Betting On Us is perhaps the most uplifting tune in the set. It’s a jovial piece of RnB, Starlite opening up with his vocals a bit and thereby revealing some rather John Mayer type inflections to his voice. The song builds gradually, adding layers of ‘80s sounding synth and even a crowd track to make it the largest bit of music on the EP.
Betting On Us is followed by the real alluring piano groove that opens the final tune ETC, which was previously released as a single. The reverb-laden falsetto vocals that are introduced over the top give the track a rather ethereal quality, before making way for the tangible and somewhat melancholy chorus.
With Like a Dream, Francis and the Lights provide an intriguing infusion of delicate instrumental haze and strong, emotive melody writing, making for an EP that will satisfy both the desire for sincere musical expression and for a simply catchy tune.
::: Renowned For Sound Music Reviews ::: Ben is a 21-year-old student whose taste in music consists of tunes that make him see things. Music for him is a very visual experience; a song has succeeded when it transports the listener somewhere. This is a quality Ben hopes to articulate in writing music reviews for RenownedForSound.com.
Ben capped off his school days at a Sydney high school catering specifically for the musically inclined, but now must balance his musical cravings with university study. To satisfy these cravings, Ben has played guitar in a few groups of differing styles but is often most contented just tinkering with the blues.