Aoife Nessa Frances - Land of No Junction LPBa Da Bing Records
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." This search, indeed the heart of the album, recalls journeys towards an ever shifting centre-a centre that cannot hold-with maps that are constantly being rewritten. She writes: "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... 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." The album is shot through with this sense of mystery-an ambiguity and disorientation that illuminates songs with smokey luminescence. Yet, through the haze, everything comes down to what, where and who one is. With Land Of No Junction, she has built a universe full of intimacy and depth, with lyrics written through a process of free thought writing. It lends the record fluidity, each song in dialogue with the next not only through language, but the way each musical choice complements or threads into another: "I would write without putting pressure on taking the song in any particular direction. It all carried itself naturally and instinctively with melody coming first and then structure later." 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 Frances studied film. Borrowing it's title from the 1966 Antonioni picture of the same name, it indirectly provided the catalyst for Frances's broader considerations about being a woman and self-determination-"Blow Up" and "Less Is More" were written before the abortion referendum was passed in Ireland in 2018-during time when women were forced to travel abroad during crisis pregnancies. They are both songs about being a woman and finding strength in a forever changing world.