There’s no shortage of commitment on Burning It Feels Like, the Heavenly Records debut for London songwriter and music educator Fran Lobo. The breadth of genres alone is impressive: ‘See Again’ is a big-hearted piano song, its arcing melismas and syrupy hooks evoking an early-’00s R&B ballad; the spare vocal minimalism of Tirzah is a clear influence on ‘Slowly’ (perhaps unsurprising thanks to their mutual collaboration with Coby Sey); the title track shimmies from Wild Beasts-like sultriness to cinematic grace with ease, before segueing into the confrontational electro-skronk of ‘Armour’.
As a singer, Lobo is bold and declarative; although it may occasionally stray a little too close to over-theatrical territory for some, those instances are rare, and most of the time her performance is all the more powerful for the force she puts behind it. When all the elements come together – like on album highlight ‘Push And Pull’ – this sounds like the work of an artist utterly at ease with herself, finding genuine release through creative expression. For that alone – and there are plenty of other qualities to appreciate here too – it’s an uplifting listen.