With her striking blue hair and a promise of stories documenting “the wild forces of nature and relationships”, Leeds-based Fran Minney is the kind of singer/songwriter who demands attention. Happily she has the talent to back up the first impressions too, on an EP which serves as a more than promising start for a new voice in UK folk/pop.
Based on the opening seconds of ‘Leaving Our Bodies’ alone, it is obvious Minney is blessed with the kind of control and range you’d expect for someone on her third or fourth album. It’s an ambitious opener which skips through the annals of folk, blues and pop and ends with her rocking out. It’s an empowering song (“We’re climbing the mountains that we built inside our minds”) which leaves a lasting and positive impression too.
It is unlikely anyone could accuse Minney of ticking too many genre boxes in one go but – for the singer/songwriter purists – ‘Rise’ just leaves Minney with her guitar plus some minimal strings and hushed backing harmonies and she passes the examination with flying colours. Even when she sings “But every anchor is being cast off and I’m just floating around”, you sense that this is a young woman who seems very confident in her performance and direction. The lilting, slightly jazzy ‘Dumb’ is another assured number; showing the full extent of her vocals whilst never threatening to let her emotions take over. Surprisingly, Deceit.’s imaginative remix of ‘Leaving Our Bodies’ really does take the song in new directions; suggesting that Minney has the option of developing a niche as a techno/euphoria pop diva should she wish to.
So the verdict is that even though there are just three original songs here, the possibilities are many for Minney. This is a mature, well-written EP which – to borrow one of her lyrics – provides a compelling piece of evidence for “Making our little voices heard”.
Beth Orton, Victoria Hume