This Francis article was written by Shawni Dunne, a GIGsoup contributor. Edited by Macon Oxley.

Swedish alternative musicians Francis return with their sophomore album, softening the experimental post-punk folk of their early music into more subtle, gentle melodies and contemplative lyrics. Francis have stripped their music to the bare bones, highlighting the beautifully soulful qualities of lead singer Petra Mases‘s unique voice and embracing the simplicity of soothing guitar sounds and drum beats.

Whether it’s the infectiously catchy upbeat melody of ‘Horses’ or the eerie, haunting vocals of ‘Eva,’ ‘Marathon’ draws the listener into the emotional story behind the lyrics, focusing on the exploration of political opinion, current affairs and prejudices arising in Europe. It’s clear to see why the album is so titled, with the rise and fall of pace and tempo, and the experimental journey of sound and voice leading to the reflective, hopeful final sprint of ‘Follow Me Home’.

Francis arose from the DIY music scene in Sweden and gained a fair amount of popularity after performing at Fabriq Festival in the Netherlands in 2012. This is the first album to feature the band’s new line up after experiencing a restructure in terms of both members and musical style, and it is clear to see that the new model band has turned more towards pop, moving away from their experimental folk origins. This change of style is a risk that has paid off, and the newly-found genre compliments and celebrates Petra Mases‘s impressive vocal range, as well as challenging the musical creativity of the band.

Francis seem to have found their musical direction, and ‘Marathon’ can only be seen as a fresh, insightful and masterful offering from a band that seems to have great promise for the future.

‘Marathon’ is out now via Strangers Candy.

Francis 'Marathon' - ALBUM REVIEW