amina

A protégée of trip-hop legend Tricky – collaborating on a handful of his tracks and releasing ‘Anima’ on his False Idols label – Francesca Belmont’s debut overflows with dark, intoxicating pop.

Murky pulsations and orchestral stabs fuel ‘Hiding In The Rushes’ and ‘Lying On The Moon’, while singles ‘Stole’ and ‘Are You’ shudder with seductive desire, the dense beats and hypnotic melodies infused by Belmont’s dusky, soulful vocals. But while she may seem most comfortable in the dimmer recesses of composition, when the tone lightens Belmont sounds equally at home; ‘Walk With You’ – an album highlight – is a tender moment of purest Bristolian pop, while ‘Daisy’ is an endearing treat amongst the gloom.

If there is a problem, it’s that at fifteen tracks, things start to feel exhaustingly overwrought by the time you reach ‘Driving’ or ‘Your Sons’. Belmont doesn’t want to leave us unsatisfied, but with judicious editing she could have provided a tighter experience. ‘Anima’ is still an ominous cabaret of delights, but there’s always something to be said for leaving the audience wanting more.

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