The sophomore single, Freedom vs Loneliness, from the indie songstress Frances Cleave, is an ethereally arrestive shoegazey Clannad-ESQUE exploration of sufferance. The 21-year-old singer-songwriter takes inspiration from her haunted city of Charleston, SC; it doesn’t get much more Southern Gothic than her latest single, which will drive you to breaking point in the presence of her harbingering vocal lines that effortlessly gel with the phantasmally reverb-soaked pensive synths and evocatively plucked acoustic guitar strings.
The lyrics subtly explore the triadic trauma imparted by religious trauma, sexualisation and objectification but there’s enough ambiguity within the lyricality for the listener to apply their own contexts of freedom and loneliness. It’s a poignant reminder that the grass isn’t always greener, especially when the ground is hallowed whichever way you turn.
We can’t wait to hear what else she has in the melancholic pipeline; her debut LP is due for release late 2023, following her next single, which is primed for release in May.
Freedom v Loneliness debuted on April 1. Stream it on Spotify.
Review by Amelia Vandergast