JW Francis: “Dream House” album review – a lo-fi pop of colour


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Rating: 4 out of 5.

JW Francis returns to the fold with Dream House – a dreamy escape to your daftest fairytale.

Hailing from New York, JW is no stranger to sitting in quaint coffee shops or strolling down Central Park, basking in the wispy warmth of Summer. Now, he’s made the perfect companion for it. Compiled in New York nearing the back-end of 2021, Dream House is exactly what it says on the box. Or for a better term, the vinyl sleeve. An illustrious dream state of familiarity, JW’s jangly “bedroom slacker pop” comes into full play as he implants his trademark of such an animated colouring board. You may hear a trace of The Strokes in there with JW’s vocal mantras deepened with inflections. Hell, there may even be hints of Lou Reed, his avant-garde sounds leading the path for many artists to pick up the torch long after his passing. But the project is still quintessential JW Francis.

The album comes after both well received albums of WANDERKID and Francis’s first in 2020, We Share A Similar Joy, which featured New York, which we can all agree is fitting attribution to the Big Apple’s hustle-and-bustle – all the while giving you moments to slow down for just a few.

When JW isn’t writing songs about his own life or surreal imagery, he writes about other people – most notably around February when he writes Valentines’ songs on his fans’ behalf. Yes, you heard that right. Every year about 6 weeks’ before Valentines’, he collates fans’ requests to write songs for their loved ones. And from this, is exactly how Dream House was born, as JW notes: “…some of them have been reworked to speak more to the artists’ life, others have remained as they were first written.” Put simply, this album is about caring for others, and the way we express it. Whether that’s through the skittish-funk of lead Going Home To A Party, “I wanna free our little minds/And our bodies too/Have a party every night” or the seasoned slow-burner Our Story, “It’s the way you bless me when I come home and I’m sneezing / Remember when we talked about Elvis Presley and his dance move,” they all have immeasurable feel-good moments for those individual fans to realise it’s pretty much their own words. Even I Wanna Be Your Basketball has moments of beautiful craziness that seemingly only a few can relate – but we all understand all the same: “I wanna be your basketball / I wanna be your favourite shopping mall.” Words that John Cooper Clarke may be even proud of.

All in all, Dream House solidifies its place on the mantel of an effortlessly-cool indie lo-fi pop project and undoubtedly proves that JW is the king of swiftness song-making.


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