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Aoife Nessa Frances – Automatic Love Review

Powerful occasions marked Aoife Nessa Frances as a force to be reckoned with on Protector, and her latest single does much the same. Automatic Love is as tender a piece as can be, continuing the sharp focus and witty, sweeping charms that featured on that previous album. Delicate is the right word for this one. Frances turns that delicacy into a six-minute behemoth, a tender and gorgeously worked track that will provide a real treat for fans of her previous works. That rigid expectation found in the title of this latest single does much to disguise the power and beauty of the track, the lyrical perspectives and the touching narrative that provides Frances with another important track.  

Through the whirring introduction and the perspective of a new world on frank and metaphor-heavy lyrics, Frances takes on a tone quite different to that of Protector. Perhaps that is why Automatic Love was cut from her earlier release. Sparse piano ballads underscore her presence, the chamber-like charm never fading but changing its tone. Lengthy and moving, the simplicity of that consistent piano ballad is broken up by a feeling of conservation, of exposure and it flows gently. Brilliant lyrical interplay is the core of this one, a track that finds itself losing out with some mighty contrast and perfect positioning for that potential, autobiographical focus. Harpsichord additions toward the latter half of the track keep the momentum going, the heartfelt appeal pumping through as Frances marks another underrated gem.  

Her work so far has been an incredible constant for the indie folk genre, a knowing appeal to that crowd came through for Protector. With Automatic Love, that sincerity that guided her previous album is founded once again, a six-minute folk titan that depends on its lounge-like sophistication. That initial simplicity in those first few minutes soon implodes, the delicate style kept up with flowing, warm arrangements. That style has founded the quality Frances can bring to her work, and the consistency provided over the six minutes of Automatic Love should be no surprise to those who have engaged with her work before this. For those new to it, this is an incredible start. Protector is the next step after the lush and melodic flow of Automatic Love, a track that sparks the embers of another step toward quality recordings.  

The sooner the better, of course. There is no better feeling than the notion of promising work just around the corner. Automatic Love may just be it. A single launched after the release of an incredible record. An extra track from the Protector recordings pieced together and refined after not quite making the cut for a longer project. Even then, Automatic Love has much on offer and an engaged perspective that utilises the usual flow of Frances’ strong vocal style and the personalised and powerful lyrical interpretations. Shimmering qualities on yet another powerful release from one of the finest folk voices around, Automatic Love is an essential track. Wonderful workings that impress with atmospheric control, with implementations of closely tied instrumentals and a range of smooth, appealing charms.  

Ewan Gleadow
Ewan Gleadow
Editor in Chief at Cult Following | News and culture journalist at Clapper, Daily Star, NewcastleWorld, Daily Mirror | Podcast host of (Don't) Listen to This | Disaster magnet

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