There may not be a more personal album released in 2012.
John Aizlewood 2012
Things could have been so different. In 2009, the world seemed to be Karmia Francis’ for the taking when the Blackpool songstress was anointed as the one to watch by a slew of giddy critics who fell for her deep-voiced, emotionally raw, sparsely produced, Tracy Chapman-like confessionals.
Then, at the very moment she could have been Adele, it all went wrong. Her debut album, The Author, was a curiously distracted affair, almost bereft of the driven intimacy that had made her such a hot tip. Worse, far worse, as she promoted it, Francis fell ill with anorexia and all its psychological implications.
When she emerged from hospital, nine months later, the world had moved on. And although she had begun a relationship as she recovered, she and her girlfriend would split during the making of The Remedy, adding another sprinkling of pain to the final product.
In 2012, Karima Francis is nobody’s next big thing and while The Remedy may slip out unnoticed, it has the unmistakeable air of a woman baring her soul. When she begins Stay with a mournful, “I gave myself away,” she’s as full of rue as can be: those looking for chinks of emotional light might be better advised to look elsewhere.
Not that you’d guess, but this hushed, 10-song collection is produced by Flood, best known for his work with the more layered U2 and Nine Inch Nails. There are occasional Flood-like flourishes, though, such as the echo-laden twang that underpins Tonight, and the gospel choir that sneaks in to the end of Arrest Me. He’s also apparent when Wherever I Go merges Byrds-ian guitar flutter with cymbals, and when the atypically lush Glory Days aspires to Adele territory.
For the most part, though, Francis is a trick-free troubadour and for all The Remedy’s lack of variety, there may not be a more personal album in 2012.