Shares “Midland Hotel II – The Restaurant”
New spoken-word EP, Short Stories
Out September 23 via Memphis Industries
Mancunian singer-songwriter, Francis Lung is sharing his new single, “Midland Hotel II – The Restaurant” which comes lifted from his forthcoming six-track EP, Short Stories which is out through Memphis Industries on September 23. The EP was announced in July with “2p Machine”, a track that went on to score support at BBC 6 Music, The Times, The i, Under the Radar (Best Tracks of the Week), Dork and more. The EP follows up Lung’s much-heralded 2021 album Miracle, which found critical acclaim at MOJO, Uncut, Sunday Times, Guardian, Times, DIY, Line of Best Fit, FLOOD and Dork and was noted for being “a tour de force in melodicism” (BBC 6 Music).
Across the new EP, Francis tells exceptionally vivid stories about a range of different characters, addressing tragedy and vulnerability in a tongue-in-cheek, Mancunian fashion. The new single, “Midland Hotel II – The Restaurant” arrives as part of a trilogy of songs set in and around the Manchester-based establishment with the Midland Hotel tracks forming the backbone of Short Stories. On the EP-opening track, “Midland Hotel II – The Restaurant”, we meet chef Stu Brown, a Salfordian with an unlikely obsession with ‘everything French’. His famous ‘Parisienne’ cooking brings widower, Anne Snow to the restaurant in search of French onion soup – her dead husband’s specialty – and neither Stu nor Anne are quite the same afterward.
Francis Lung brings this vision to life through the lyrics, through the atmosphere, and through the accompanying film. The release captures this visual aspect, building this captivating ambiance that dynamically shifts throughout the journey, hanging on the words to trigger the intensity. Hanging on those vocal notes comes this sincere wealth of emotion, pushing this affectionate enhancement from the lyrics into that alluring atmosphere. The array of touching strings and direct drum shuffles emerge within the journey to shift the power and the course of the stirring ensemble. This is a must listen, Francis Lung has created such a complex and consuming track, a release that engages the listener to imagine a world instructed by the intimate wordsmith.
The past year has seen two significant life changes for the former WU LYF member – a move to France, specifically Nantes – with wife and collaborator, Coralie and the birth of their daughter. Both had a big impact on the songs that appear on Short Stories, as Francis explains: “Those first months following the birth of my daughter were a daze – the days were joyful, but the nights were long. Once I’m up, I’m up, and I could never get back to sleep after feeding or changing the baby. In my semi-delirious state, I would lie awake in bed making up stories in my head to pass the time.”
Short Stories was written, mixed and produced by Francis, a first for him, in Studio Velour, his spare bedroom studio following his move to Nantes. Like on Miracle, Francis played all of the instruments himself, save for some drumming contributions by longtime collaborator Andrew Richardson. The move to France gave him a new perspective on, and certain reverence towards, life back in Manchester, which made its way into his songwriting. The accent, the dark sense of humour, the matter-of-factness and the general mood of the songs on Short Stories are evidence of this. Says Francis, “it’s a celebration of where I come from but it’s also taking the piss. This in itself is a pretty Mancunian outlook I think.”
You can pre-order Short Stories here
September 23, 2022
Out via Memphis Industries
1. Midland Hotel II – The Restaurant
2. Due Date
3. 2p Machine
4. Midland Hotel I – Anne’s List
5. Shadow Shyness
6. Midland Hotel III – Graffiti