The Victoria, London – July 1 & Deaf Institute, Manchester – July 2
Manchester-based singer-songwriter, Francis Lung is today sharing his new single, “The Let Down” which comes as the latest installment from his forthcoming second album, Miracle, set for release via Memphis Industries on June 18, 2021. The new track comes with a video self-directed by Lung and follows in the wake of previous singles that have found support at the BBC 6 Music Playlist, The Guardian The Times, NPR, FLOOD, Brooklyn Vegan, DIY, The Line of Best Fit and more. The new album was produced by Francis in collaboration with Brendan Williams (Dutch Uncles, Matthew Halsall, Kiran Leonard) and Robin Koob (who co-arranged and performed strings), recorded at the idyllic Giant Wafer Studios in rural Wales in early 2020.
Miracle represents a period of introspection for Francis. Reflecting on struggles with mental health, substance (ab)use, and relationships, the record finds him facing his demons head-on, a cathartic process that largely contributed to his decision to give up alcohol. Despite its serious subject matter, Miracle, is far from austere in sound, marrying the cinematic, dreamlike quality of Francis’s earlier music, both solo and as a member of WU LYF, with the pared-back charm of great singer-songwriters like Judee Sill, Jeff Tweedy, and Elliott Smith (of whom Francis is a noted fan; he co-organised an Elliott Smith online tribute concert in June 2020, a fundraiser for LGBTQ+ charities which featured Smith covers by Marika Hackman, Blaenavon, Marissa Nadler, and others).
“The Let Down” is positioned as the final track on the forthcoming album; it’s a syrupy, groove-driven addition that is introduced with a dancing piano section before expanding into chopping guitars and emphatic percussion. To an extent, it acts as a celebration and underscoring of what Francis Lung attempts to resolve on Miracle, an album layered with catharsis and Lung’s realisation surrounding his aforementioned problems with alcohol and mental health.
Speaking about the new single, Francis Lung says: “‘The Let Down’ was written on the piano, originally with a much more conventional vocal melody. I started half-speaking/half-singing the vocal instead and suddenly different words came, words that sounded a bit like my conscience speaking to me – “If you don’t wanna be here no more, then you don’t have to be here no more.” At the time it was just another song, but after the album was finished and I was asking friends for help with tracklisting, my good buddy Jolan Lewis (The Foetals, Aldous RH) said “The Let Down” HAD to be the final song. Listening in context it was clear he was right, Miracle deals with so much personal stuff throughout and “The Let Down” just seemed to provide a conclusion, like your conscience saying ‘Ok you’ve dealt with all these emotions, now what are you gonna do? Are you where you want to be? Are you waiting patiently? Stop waiting.”
The accompanying video, which features Lung and his co-producer, Brendan Williams, comes inspired by the Classic Albums series which features rock icons like Steely Dan and Fleetwood Mac; it imagines Lung and Williams as 80-year-old men looking back on “The Let Down” with a tongue-firmly-in-cheek view that it was featured on a similar ‘rockumentary’ style TV show. “I actually asked Classic Albums for permission to use the opening titles and theme song,” explains Francis, “but it would’ve cost more than the combined budget for all three music videos for the campaign, so the wonderful Jolan Lewis composed and recorded an original theme song in under an hour (he also plays the alternate guitar solo in the video). I created the ‘Historic Singles’ logo and corresponding opening titles from stock footage and I guess it’s just a waiting game to see if we get sued.“
The keys commence and instantly add this engaging thread to the release, bringing this bold and upbeat bounce to the creation whilst the low-end notes add this brooding attachment. The upbeat inflictions capture this bright infliction and allude to a more poppier trait before Lung’s presence soon dominates and controls the release. Lung’s delicate and dreamy vocal notes enter the ambiance and mesmerize. The lyrics bring this realistic and raw edge to a release that flirts between being fragile and soft to soulful and a gleaming, proud beat and structure. The abrupt melody that surges throughout flawlessly angles the intensity to the forefront of the crushing arrangement. This soulful and charming piece offers an immersive vision and pulls through honest vibes found in the lyrics and delicately relayed with the tender vocal harmonies.
With each release Francis Lung shares we see this remarkable beauty to their vision, which quite frankly only Francis Lung can create and capture. Always providing music that has the ability to compel the audience at all times. The film combined with the lyrics ultimately allow this comical attribute to emit, there is a heavy passage that soars with this ensemble but it’s delivered with such a light intensity that Lung fearlessly allows this real humble character to be captured.
Miracle marks the first full-length release from Francis Lung since his critically acclaimed 2019 debut, A Dream Is U which found positive reviews from Uncut, MOJO, The Times, Paste Magazine, The Line of Best Fit, and more. Prior to that, Lung played as part of the Manchester group, WU LYF, a project which found a wealth of buzz in the early stages of the last decade, attaining Pitchfork’s Best New Music award for Go Tell Fire To The Mountain which was also named in their Top 100 albums of the 2010s. Miracle emerges as a much more focused and deeply personal record for Lung, it’s cohesive and generous in what it aims to give, allowing for something which is as vital as it is vulnerable. “I don’t want to be defined by my anxiety, my depression or any history of substance abuse,” Francis says, “but I do want to reach out to other people who have had similar experiences, especially if it’s in a way that helps them feel a little better. To me, this music is celebrating healing as much as it focuses on the darker sides of the human psyche.”
Miracle is available to pre-order as a very special hand-numbered Dinked edition on mint green vinyl with an alternate mirror board sleeve, “Miracle” patch, and flexi disc including exclusive non-album track “Internet”. Go here for more info. Francis Lung will support the new album with dates at The Victoria, London on July 1 and Deaf Institute, Manchester on July 2.
June 18, 2021
Out via Memphis Industries
2. Bad Hair Day
3. Blondes Have More Fun
5. Empty Playgrounds, Broken Swings (Demo)
6. Don’t Call Me Baby
7. Say So
8. Southern Skies
9. Want 2 Want U
10. Comedown (Again)
12. Lonesome No More
13. The Let Down