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Francie Cool - "Francie Cool" | Album Review

by Gilad Jaffe

How many of us just now seem to be meeting Philadelphia’s Francie Cool is a mystery; with already something of a following in the United Kingdom (a deal with Fox Food Records and a write-up in Wake the Deaf), “good-girl Frances” appears to be teetering on the verge of something electric back here in the States. Her elliptical vocals and haunting bedroom-pop show lo-fi shades of folk hero Karen Dalton, Pinegrove’s Evan Hall, Alex G, at times fellow Philadelphian Sachi DiSerafino (of Joy Again).

On her eponymous debut LP released earlier this year, Francie Cool, Frances graced us with a deeply intimate self-portrait—thoroughly glittered with samples from her favorite 1970’s Hong Kong Venom Mob films. The album’s complex sensitivities address themes across the spectrum of her experience, from anxiety to citrus taxonomy; from cancer to, indeed, kung fu. With these nuanced shards, Francie Cool has composed an unbroken mosaic of herself— the album is a cinematic testament to her personality.

Francie Cool manages to smear the line between the alter ego and the true self -- between “Francie Cool” and Frances herself. While some of her song titles are the names of Japanese cities, like “Osaka” and “Chikura,” Francis herself has yet to journey away from the East Coast. She instead relies on Far Eastern travel books to “feed her imagination” and in turn, inspire her synthy hymns. Full of contradictions, Francie Cool succeeds in wiping the cloudy, clear—and vice-versa. This is the Zen of Francie Cool.

Her forthcoming album, Witch Music, is currently brewing for a late-year release.