Back in 2015 we picked Dublin duo Princess as one of our Plec Picks – “ones to watch” for the coming year(s). Like many acts of the day, they didn’t last long but, as Aoife Nessa Frances’ debut album ‘Land of No Junction‘ testifies, we weren’t imagining things. Her potential was plain to see and she has finally delivered upon it in the most magnificent and unexpected way.
Shunning her early shoegaze ventures, Aoife Nessa Frances has instead embraced a shimmering Laurel Canyon alt-country sound with elements of psychedelia. Wafts of Pink Floyd, Nick Drake and The Byrds permeate ‘Land of No Junction’ as well as Alduous Harding – whom she can now assuredly count as one of her peers – to create a sumptuous debut, brimming with deeply personal tales of the sorrowful side of love.
To help Aoife Nessa Frances achieve her vintage sound, she enlisted the help of acclaimed guitarist Cian Nugent, who sprinkles magic throughout the album’s 9 tracks. He also provided the inspiration for the album’s title, with ANF mishearing a reference to a childhood holidaying in Llandudno Junction in Wales.
Aoife Nessa Frances’ hushed, woozy, Xanax-like vocal delivery has an ethereal quality which acts as the album’s lynch-pin, meshing the myriad of styles perfectly. Title-track Land of No Junction feels like a slow dance where both parties know that once the music stops, they will breakup so they close their eyes and hope that it will last forever.
Indeed, much of the album feels like a lullaby riffing on past and future regrets. “All our answers have disappeared on a stranger’s face in an unknown sphere. Taking your tears, I’ve been stung like this before. and overlooked what matters more” she sings, on The Byrds tinged Libra.
The predictability of sadness in the human condition is examined on tracks such as Heartbreak, however there is a resolute quality to Aoife Nessa Frances’ songwriting that suggests that she is winning more battles in the darkness than she is losing.