Francis and the Lights - Just For Us

Francis and the Lights
Just for Us

Francis and the Lights is an interesting man. At first glace his music can feel really derivative of the 80s and his voice sounds almost exactly like Peter Gabriel. Yet seemingly out of no where He will come up with a song with Kanye, Chance the Rapper of Bon Iver that makes you perk up and think "Should I be into this guy?". In a surprise move for his fans Francis released this 10 track LP on the last couple of days in 2017 as a thank you to his fans. It has his signature production style, super slick yet grounded in real instrumentation, typically a piano. He always has this hip hop esque style while never fully crossing over to the genre. It's an interesting posture, and one that more and more producers seem to be taking as the lines between genres continue to bend and break. The release date is really interesting because coming out in the no mans land between Christmas and New Years is always a recipe for disaster but, this being Francis' sophomore effort it makes sense to try and sneak it through. The album is super quick at only 26 minutes just a quick in and out with only a few of the songs reaching the three minute mark. Just For Us feels like the beginning of something rather than it's finished product. The tracks are sparse yet interesting but never realyl crossover into that full out banger status like his other popular tracks "Friends" and "May I Have This Dance?". "I Won't Lie to You" has this great ad lib yell in it, a clear trap influence but Francis never uses it to any great degree. It feels like an opportunity missed, as do many of these tracks.

Even on "Breaking Up" where it feels like Francis is trying to mine some emotional depth it never gets there. The track is to sparse his lyrics to basic and the song never clicks into gear where it will really start firing. You are desperate for a moment of release throughout this record, praying that at some point Francis let's you bang but it unfortunately never comes. The album feels really like some extra tracks, a B-Sides maybe, but not the album you release after some of the hits He has put out as of late. It's just too mellow, too slick and too lacking to make any real impact. Yet, you can always hear the promise, here the richness his production can take. "Never Back" has a section at the end that is almost Odesza worthy chillwave production but instead of allowing it to explode and blow you away He shrinks from the opportunity and the beat goes to waste. I wanted more from this record than Francis was able to deliver, but the promise is still there, He just needs to find a way to harness it as He's done before.

6.0 out of 10


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