An indie rock quartet from Manchester, England whose sole album was 2011's Go Tell Fire to the Mountain, WU LYF charted in the U.K., then suddenly disbanded in 2012. In the meantime, their bassist, Tom McClung, had begun working on solo material. Adopting the alias Francis Lung, he released a pair of intimate, singer/songwriter-styled EPs in 2016. He then enlisted producer Brendan Williams (Dutch Uncles, Kiran Leonard) to help significantly expand his sound on his full-length debut, A Dream Is U. The album's lush, '60s-inspired Baroque pop evokes stated influences such as the Left Banke and Phil Spector. Speaking of Spector, the Ronettes homage "I Wanna Live in My Dreams" opens the album with an echoing, string-embellished retro pop befitting the starry-eyed wistfulness of lyrics that want to escape a heartbroken reality. The song's stirring romanticism is made all the more charming by the youthful sincerity of Lung's vocal delivery. This sweetness is maintained throughout A Dream Is U, an affectionate album full of high hopes and heartbreak. Even the Beatlesque psychedelic pop standout "The Lie" is full of rousing harmonies and encouragement as he tries to convince an object of affection to be true to herself. On the more intimate side, "2 Real" is quieter with a more restrained melody, but still consists of ringing broken guitar chords à la Real Estate and low-key, driving drums. Other sparer tunes include the hushed "Invisible" and "Comedown," an elegant, waltzing chamber piece that leaves the protagonist waiting. Elsewhere, Lung invokes the Mellotron of "Strawberry Fields Forever" on "Unnecessary Love," and "Up & Down" is a pure blast of Merseybeat teen pop. Well-crafted and well-executed throughout, A Dream Is U should appeal to fans of any of the aforementioned styles as well as to lovelorn romantics.
A Dream Is U Review
by Marcy Donelson