Tickets €15 including booking fee are available from Ticketmaster, Tickets.ie & WaV Box Office [lo-call 1890 200 078].
Whelan’s are proud to present Choice Music Prize & Meteor Award nominee Valerie Francis in Whelan’s on Saturday 27th February. 2009 was an amazing year for Valerie. Her debut album Slow Dynamo was named Irish Album of the Year in the Irish Independent & her video for Punches which was championed on KanYe West’s blog, won IMTV’s Video of the Year. She is currently nominated for Best Irish Female in this year’s Meteor Awards and her album Slow Dynamo is nominated for the Choice Music Prize.
On her debut album, Slow Dynamo, Valerie Francis has managed to cross-stitch a work of coal-burning beauty composed of simple ideas, executed complexly. Old synths, harmoniums, bells, horns, drums, and strings interweave to turn accessible songwriting into something to savour rather than gobble whole (tempting as it is to shovel the whole of Slow Dynamo’s platter down your throat at once). Drones pass by each other like ships at night, while instruments play a hypnotic hopscotch together without ever tripping over each other’s feet.
Produced collaboratively with Jimmy Eadie (Jape, David Kitt), Francis’ album is one of delicate intricacy and an artist’s attention to detail. Francis’ performance within this album is no box of eggshells, however, but a subtly elaborate engine pistoning off steady streams of kinetic sparks – that Slow Dynamo the album name warns of. This album is all about the creation of energy, a resource Francis has found a way to tap. Rather than a gluttonous rush of exertion, she leaks it out at a rate steady enough to power her along for the album’s 33 minutes, and indeed, another 33 years, all lightbulbs glowing and turned-up radiators.
Just listen to the opening self-titled track, with its softly humming harmoniums and synapse-caressing vocals. Pick out any other given chapter from Slow Dynamo’s contents. Whether the chiming bells and blissed-out orchestration of ‘Punches’, or the scorched-earth starkness of ‘Please’, Valerie Francis’ person has merged with her sound. She is the forest-scape instrumentation on ‘Trees’, the playful singsong voice on ‘How’, and the jazzed-up drumbeat of ‘At Most’. As Francis lays out in her aim: “I wanted to make a piece of music that is optimistic and has life.”
“I’m a big fan of people like Kate Bush,” Francis explains, “and albums like The Dreaming which have sounds on them you would never imagine had any place in popular music, however work completely. Not quirky for the sake of quirky, but quirky for the sake of art.” Fittingly, Slow Dynamo isn’t rammed to the rafters with gimmicky instruments or gratuitous weirdness. There’s no deceit and no play-acting – this is a collection built in the image of its creator.
In case you hadn’t noticed it, Valerie Francis’ debut album is a masterful example of how keeping your voice down makes everybody want to listen to what you’re saying. Slow Dynamo may indeed be a slow-burner, but it’s one hell of a bonfire when the spark catches.
Be sure to check out the amazing – Kanye West endorsed – IMTV Video of the Year 2009 online –
Just email your contact details to firstname.lastname@example.org by midnight on Thursday, 25th February & the lucky winners will be notified on Friday 26th by email.