A sublime and often astounding debut.
Chris Long 2009-03-24
In 2009's musical world of 80s revivals, neon tops, in-your-face attitudes and pose-striking frontwomen, Karima Francis stands out like the proverbial sore thumb.
Stick thin and unassuming, if it weren't for her huge ball of hair, you might miss her until she opened her mouth – yet when she does that, you realise just how unique and unignorable she is and why she can dispense with the stylists and really on her larynx to draw attention to her.
In a word, Karima’s voice is stunning. In a breath, she's capable of sweeping from ethereally angelic to devastatingly heartbreaking, a power that has seen her captivate audiences live.
Of course, such a tool is nothing without the tunes to work upon. Thankfully, as The Author shows, she is fully capable of writing songs as fine as her voice.
From the opening swell of the title track, through the waltzing, weaving passion of Oh Laura and Hold You's tight emotional punch, and out to the overwhelmingly sparkling Forever, it is an album of weighty passion and tender splendour.
Of course, it's not perfection, with the rambling finale of Laurel Avenue in particular proving that sometimes, she doesn’t quite manage to match the standard of her songs to the majesty of her voice.
But even taking that into account, The Author is still a sublime and often astounding debut. This might be the year of synth-pop but the sheer brilliance of Karima Francis means that singer-songwriters shouldn’t be entirely absent from the 'Best Of' lists come December.