ALBUM: JW Francis – Dream House

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New York-based jangle popper JW Francis releases his latest album, ‘Dream House’, a record packed full of lo-fi dream-pop that not only revels in its slacker identity, but pays homage to the early 00’s New York scene.

Opening up the album is, ‘Going Home To a Party’ which establishes early on the lo-fi groove that permeates the rest of the record. The guitar licks are packed full of funk straight from the Nile Rogers playbook, whilst 16-bit electro cuts through, making it sound as if the listener is playing the world coolest Super Nintendo game. Following on from this is, ‘Casino’ which incorporates more of a country flavour, with acoustic guitars making up a large portion of the sonic backdrop. The vocals sound as if they are ripped straight from the grimy New York streets of the 70’s, with a fuzz and a straight, “don’t give a fuck” attitude to them.

The album takes on a different sound with the titular track, ‘Dream House’, with the up-beat funk ad pop making way for more introspective dream-pop. The vocals here glide along the hazy guitar riffs all while being anchored down by the acoustic guitar that runs through the background. The track still feels as if it was recorded in a cupboard in downtown Manhattan.

This is continued in, ‘I Wanna Be Your Basketball’, being a blissful, downbeat, almost love song. There is true joy to be found in the track, in the narrator’s celebration of slacker culture and , ‘couch potato’ mentality. Rather than reject these labels JW Francis seems to be openly embracing them. Think, ‘The Outdoor Type’ by The Lemonheads updated for a modern generation.

You’re Changing’ brings the tempo back up, again incorporating blissful elements of funk to create a light, breezy guitar sound. It’s a track that’s made to be blasted in the summer heat.

Closing up the album is, ‘Sweet As a Rose’ which again maintains that blissful summer sound that permeates so much of the record. It glides along the foundations made by the excellent guitar work, while the vocals are at their distorted lo-fi best, harkening back to the likes of The Strokes, Interpol and the now legendary early 00’s New York scene.

‘Dream House’ is a wonderfully crafted slice of lo-fi, slacker bedroom pop. JW Francis succeeds, seemingly effortlessly, in taking an established genre and bending it to his own desires by incorporating many different genres and styles. All to great success. It’s an album that’s ready-made for a summer heatwave.