Francis Lung, “Miracle”
With just one line on “Blondes Have More Fun,” the third track of his second studio album Miracle, Francis Lung (of WU LYF fame) perfectly encapsulates the languor of pandemic-era living, singing “I wanna go home, I just don’t wanna go to my house.” Don’t we all.
On Miracle, Lung blends breezy, summery rock arrangements with casual, friendly lyrics to create an atmosphere that fits perfectly in what will hopefully be the concluding chapters of the pandemic. It’s perhaps a bit of a stretch to call the album “indie rock” given Lung’s clear respect for and imitation of classic albums, but his sound is remarkably pleasant regardless of categorization.
As a whole, the 13-song effort is easy to listen to, but is nevertheless loaded with nuance. On “Bad Hair Day,” driven-turned-swaying verses are joined by a honky-tonk piano, while “Don’t Call Me Baby” evokes the synchronized glam-rock tonalities of T. Rex. The record’s final track, the bouncy, melodically nimble “The Let Down,” is as fun as it is peppy, exemplifying Lung’s propensity for earnest, straightforward lyricism. At times, the album’s concluding notes resemble the cheery, sunny passages of Electric Light Orchestra’s “Mr. Blue Sky,” with sparkly piano accompanied by an eerily familiar drum fill ahead of the middle guitar solo. As well-constructed as the rest of the album is, “The Let Down” downright steals the show, making it a wonder that Lung didn’t make every song this infectious.
As a songwriter, Lung should absolutely be commended for his ability to construct agile, clever songs that work splendidly on their own, but should concentrate more on combining them more cohesively into a more consistent and comfortable album. At times, Miracle feels like a disconcerting flip-flop between upbeat, Brian Wilson–inspired blasts (“Say So,” “Want 2 Want U”) and placid, indie arrangements (“Southern Skies,” “Countdown (Again)”) instead of carrying a uniform spirit.
Still, most of Lung’s creative choices are tenable and fit snuggly alongside his easygoing delivery. There’s seldom an extemporaneous moment, but such calculated rigidness is understandable when the arrangements are faithful love letters to records of years past. Miracle is polished, distinctly splashy, and good enough to meet its lofty ambitions.