Album Review: Frances ‘Things I’ve Never Said’

Take a cup of Adele, add a spoonful of Tori Amos and a hint of Suzanne Vega and turn the vulnerability up a bit.

Thank heaven for Sophie Frances Cooke. Frances’s charming album ‘Things I’ve Never Said’ was released on St Pat’s Day 2017.

It opens with ‘Don’t Worry About Me’, a soaring, soulful anthem, destined to be a lasting classic. That song is so standout good that it was the right idea to get it out of the way as track one, to leave the listener free to concentrate on the rest of the album.

Forgive me a touch of musical self-gratification here, but I particularly love the how the chorus culminates in a sweet progression through a diminished 7th, then B-minor to E7, to resolve back to D. Delightful. A lot of modern writers wouldn’t bother and let’s face it, some wouldn’t know a diminished 7th if it jumped up and bit them in the arse, but I’m sure Stevie Wonder, Randy Newman and Pauls Simon and McCartney would nod in appreciation.

The album is not all perfect. ‘Let it Out’ does distill down to the dreaded ‘four chord song’, but in this case it’s forgivable.

‘No Matter’ is a bouncy guitar rocker, to which you may all clap your hands above your head as the vocal effects take over to add artifice and gimmickry, while the loop structure and lack of story conspire to make one wonder why it was included to disturb the album’s careful atmosphere.

And ‘When it Comes to Us’ is a collaboration that sounds, frankly, like everything else on Radio One and niffs as much of Marketing as it does of music.

But ‘Cloud 9’ is gorgeous, ‘Grow’ will put said Cloud beneath your feet, and ‘Say it Again’ has a comforting strength. The songwriting on this album shows that the writers know how to get beyond loops. Sequences and progressions feature too, and even the loops more often than not finally come to some resolution. Skillful songwriting is at a premium in the current British music industry, but does not mean its importance is not recognised – on the contrary, the biz has already nominated Frances for two awards long before the album arrived.

Optimistically, despite the beauty of this album, this writer suspects we have yet to see the best of Frances. This is an exciting prospect. Glad to add my voice to those of encouragement for Frances’s talent to flower brighter yet. 

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