If a diary could sing, I imagine this is how it would sound. Okay, it’s not a soulful croon of “meeting at 2” or “coffee with the girls after work”. Think more along the lines of an emotional confessional exemplified by the track ‘Solo’: “I don’t want to feel solo/ Sometimes, don’t want to feel at all”. In the self-berating ‘You’ll Never Know’ Franka De Mille declares that “I was so blind” in a relationship that turned sour. Though all is not doom and despair, there is a sense of hope as the album opens with the comparatively uplifting number ‘Come On’ in which the artist’s strength in the face of adversity is clear.
The London singer-songwriter presents a unique interpretation of alternative folk blended in elegant arrangements with the violin, accordion, cello, mandolin and flute. However, her emotional and sometimes harrowing lyrics are never far away. Even in the laidback, summertime-feel of ‘Fallen’, the plight of a woman who has been scorned by love is described: “I couldn’t have fallen any deeper…You couldn’t have played the mind games finer”. This succession of emotionally-charged songs can be a trial to listen to at points as you’re left feeling as if you’ve been sitting in on a counselling session with guitar-accompaniment.
However, for songs so heartfelt, the album can feel somewhat sterile. Sure, it’s been well put together; the sound is good, her voice is good, the instrumentals are good, but her studio album doesn’t quite sit right. Having watched various videos of Franka performing with a band, her music feels more natural, more personal when enjoyed live. Thankfully, ‘Bridge The Roads’ does include an unplugged version of ‘Gare du Nord’, which is both beautiful and sincere. The album then is a good introduction to Franka De Mille, but the real pleasure is in hearing her perform.
Franka De Mille is performing in London at The Rattlesnake on Tuesday 12th February. Tickets available via her website: http://www.frankademille.com
Album released: 11 February 2013