There were three bands from the L Magazine's Class of '07 feature that I ended up listening to: Vampire Weekend, White Rabbits, and Frances. While the two former artists shot to indie superstardom (VW) and middling indie purgatory (WR), Frances kept a low profile for the past year. However, they were probably the band that intrigued me the most when I first heard them. The only song of theirs that resembled a complete product was "Lighthouse", but it was a hell of a song. There were shades of bands like Neutral Milk Hotel and Half-Handed Cloud, as well as a fair share of Columbia bookishness. Well I've played the crap out of "Lighthouse", I kept waiting for more.
Well, the other day I got my needy little paws on the band's debut album, All the While, and it's just as stunning as I hoped it would be. With lush orchestrations and a sense of wonder and earnestness, this could easily end up on my "best of '08" list. Songs like "Cousin" and "Telephone" fulfill the promise I heard in that first demo. As for "Lighthouse" itself, it's been fleshed out with a crisper, cleaner productions and a fleshed out sound that loses none of the original greatness. The band opened that secret Rogue Wave show last weekend, and they're opening for the Walkmen this week. Keep an eye out for them, because they're going to be huge if there's any fairness in this indie landscape!
Frances - Lighthouse (Revised)