I very much liked Aoife Nessa Frances' debut Land of No Junction when it appeared at the beginning of last year. Enchanting was a good description of it. Mysterious, enigmatic and highly more-ish it employed tropes you'd immediately associate with Stereolab and Broadcast and filled the spaces with fantastic, original ingenuity. It was and is some record.
So it's great to be able to report that Frances has returned 18 months down the line with a follow up Protector that on first play is quite the equal of its predecessor. I'm already looking forward to playing this again and getting to know these songs better.
Protector seems less immediately indebted to either Stereolab or Broadcast here. In many ways these seem like more traditionally derived Folk related compositions. But they're every bit as compelling and mysterious as the songs on Land of No Junction and Frances is carving out a fascinating identity for herself that brings Jane Weaver to mind in terms of its potential future legacy.
A late entry in terms of my albums of the year. It had to have a space someone. A magical, textured record. The stuff of happy dreams. An album that demands playing and re-playing to allow it to fully unwrap its pearls. Sorry for the hyperpole but trust me. It really is that good.