Aoife Nessa Francis - LAND OF NO JUNCTION out 17 January 2020 on Basin Rock
Tour Dates this week with Brigid Mae Power:
18-Oct - Cork - Plugd at the Roundy
20-Oct - Galway - The Black Gate
23-Oct - Dublin - The Sound House
25-Oct - West Cork - Connollys of Leap
26-Oct - Tralee - Collis Sandes house
On the eponymously titled final song of her debut album Land Of No Junction, Irish songwriter Aoife Nessa Frances sings “Take me to the land of no junction/Before it fades away / Where the roads can never cross / But go their own way.” It is this search that lies at the heart of the album, recalling journeys towards an ever shifting centre - a centre that cannot hold - where maps are constantly being rewritten.
“The album title is a result of a mishearing. Cian Nugent [Aoife’s musical collaborator and co-producer] was telling me about childhood trips he made to Llandudno in Wales, passing through a station called Llandudno Junction,” reveals Frances. “Land Of No Junction later became a place in itself. A liminal space - a dark vast landscape to visit in dreams… A place of waiting where I could sit with uncertainty and accept it. Rejecting the distinct and welcoming the uncertain and the unknown.”
Written over several years, the songs traverse and inhabit this indeterminate landscape: the beginnings of love, moments of loss, discovery, fragility and strength, all intermingle and interact. Some songs - like lead single 'Blow Up' - date back to university days, where Aoife studied film (the accompanying video was shot by Aoife and directed by her sister Anna McCarthy). Borrowing its title from the 1966 Antonioni picture of the same name, it indirectly provided the catalyst for Aoife’s broader considerations about being a woman and self-determination: 'Blow Up' was written before the abortion referendum was passed in Ireland in 2018 - during time when women were forced to travel abroad during crisis pregnancies. It's a song about being a woman and finding strength in a forever changing world.
“My old life was hard to shake,” Aoife sings at the beginning of 'Blow Up.' Over the course of Land Of No Junction, nostalgia and newness ebb and flow. Sounds simmer up in the background of the songs, and are washed over by changes both summoned and not. It shows us a reckoning to be found in flux, and an ongoing acceptance of the inexplicable.