Song of the day – 547: Francolin
The obvious line to take would be theirs, the line of tags they list on their Bandcamp, but that line’s already been taken by my friend David Nichols elsewhere:
The first album Francolin have made is a remarkable challenge, not a challenge to like, but a challenge to comprehend or categorise or even describe. “Alternative Australian folk indie pop Scandinavian Swedish twee indie tropical twee Melbourne” are the tags on Bandcamp, nobody’s fault but commas would have been handy – “tropical, twee” no thanks (no, the appropriation of the word “twee” by the twee’d is not the same as taking back “queer”; it’s always an insult) but tropical twee? Just maybe. (Francolin, Won’t Let You Down, Mess+Noise)
He then goes on to compare their “trebly guitars and horns” to part-forgotten twee English 80s pop band Haircut 100, and my work is done here. (P.S. If they were from Brighton, they’d be female.)
I mean, really.
There are few pop commentators around (in Australia, in anywhere) who aren’t worth contradicting (if only to see the steam spilling out their ears) but Mr Nichols isn’t one of them. He speaks the heart. He speaks the truth, as fluid and changeable as he knows it to be. Such commentary is rare. This song bubbles and froths and has such a wonderful buoyancy, lightness of touch, playfulness, the brass and the vocals and melodies and guitars all colluding to make the most delirious delicious pop music. This is the only Francolin song I’ve heard to date – first tipped off by the redoubtable Jake Cleland – and I’m torn between kind of never wanting to hear any more because the anticipation of discovering yet Another Great Pop Crush is so overwhelming I want it to last forever, and spoiling that anticipation and gouging every last melted chocolate from the bottom of the Quality Street tin.
Of course, I can’t resist:
Folk in Australia always go on about This Great Young Songwriter or That Great New Young Songwriter, and I usually take that to mean the music is dour and badly thought-through but that there could be a semblance of an idea under the crap guitar, and I have no idea whether Francolin are Young or indeed Songwriters like the term seems to be so rigidly defined, and perhaps they’re not earnest nor serious enough to qualify for such portent, but by any rules I understand, surely they’re a shoo-in for this year and several others besides? No. As you were then.
I really don’t catch the Jens Lekman comparisons either. Surely Jens hasn’t sounded this carefree or casual for years? I’m happy to be contradicted, btw.