The debut album from singer-songwriter Freja Frances features an emo-pop inspired collection of piano-led songs dealing with experiences of depression and an unhealthy relationship.
Opener, ‘Catching Fire’ begins with soft piano, minimal atmospherics, and the line “You can’t help me pinpoint exactly when I lost my mind”. The song is beautifully melodic, and builds around the striking imagery of fire, capturing the emotion and passion of a doomed relationship and the consumption of depression.
The story continues with title track ‘The Funeral’, exploring the loss of a lover through suicide. Again, the dark theme is expressed using ethereal atmospherics and gentle melodies. ‘Machine’ follows, dealing with memories and grief, adding the textures of piano, synths and electric guitar. Then there are wonderful fairytale metaphors used in ‘Juliet’ and ‘The Wolf’; the latter about two people who are struggling with mental illness and social stigma – “The wolf is after you and he wants your heart.”
Later, ‘Stay Awake’ tackles insomnia and spiralling thoughts, as it is gently delivered with twinkling piano chords and Freya’s captivating voice cooing “counting the days since I lost my mind.” The atmospherics and vocal harmonies build around the chorus, bringing a different atmosphere each time, until redemption is found in letting go of past experiences; a theme also explored in ‘Implosion’ and ‘Start Again’, closing the album on a gentle note, with the promise of more hopeful times.
For me, this album is resonant, lyrical and melodic. Though it deals with melancholy themes, it is sorrowful but not miserable. It draws on the interior experiences of depression, dreams, madness and lost love, crafting beauty from sadness. One that will stay with you.
The Funeral is out now via ShimmerSun Music.
Fi Ni Aicead