Artist channels Tuneyards-y art pop


A Leeds ex-pat marooned in Manchester, going by the fabulous name of Francesca Pidgeon. “I’ve just moved into a lovely flat where I can literally see Strangeways prison,” she smiles, wobbling the webcam round to prove it. She seems chipper enough, but her debut album is called ‘Tantrum’, and it’s a white-knuckle ride of gloriously tuneful 20-something angst.

Why Dilettante?

“People always said I would be someone / Platitudes make good lullabies,” she sings on lead single ‘Big Fish’, perfectly encapsulating that killer moment when the childhood bubble is finally popped by grotty adult concerns. ‘Teeth’, meanwhile, is a jazzy, brassy paean to modern anxiety. “Someone said to me that if you’re anxious, you clench your teeth a lot,” she explains. “And now I do it all the time! Sorry if I’ve made you do it as well… I play keys, sax, clarinet, guitar, loop pedal, sometimes even drums. And the name is me admitting I’m not very good at any of them!” she laughs. It’s pish. She’s a consummate multi-instrumentalist, making brilliantly extravagant art-pop soap operas. Take the song ‘Surrogate Lover’, which is like Kate Bush singing Victoria Wood. On Broadway. “I stayed too long at his staff Christmas party / Then told him my life story, drunk on Bacardi…”. To ask a question that’s probably been posed before, Francesca – is this real life? Or is it just fantasy? “It’s all real stuff, I have no imagination,” she admits. “Being too honest is what I like about writing songs.”

Tell Us More…

She tours with open-hearted US indie star BC Camplight, has supported Self Esteem and cites Tune-Yards as a major influence. “I didn’t realise what you could do with a loop pedal until I saw them live in about 2012,” she explains. “Most of my album was written with one. Tune-Yards, Fiona Apple and St Vincent are my three guys. My holy trinity…”.

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