Chartering a slow submersion into adulthood, Francis of Delirium’s Wading is a captivating insight into vocalist Jana Bahrich’s coming of age.
Peppered with the angst of adolescence, the duo’s sophomore EP mulls over relationship turmoil, evolving into an overarching search for identity through the murky waters of millennial confusion.
On opener “Lakes” Bahrich is adrift, piecing together a sense of selfhood amidst the external influences she imagines pouring in. Layered harmonies ring dazzlingly clear beneath her soft musings, which dip into fast-paced guitar interludes matched with deliciously glazed soaring vocals. Bright and buoyant, the track is an introduction to a record filled with hope, yet clambering to find a joyous direction.
With a three decade age gap between Bahrich and collaborator Chris Hewett, the duo meld genres spanning generations with ease. Tastes of '90s grunge, soft-rock, and pop run amok, strikingly unique in experimentation but amicably suited to the intense delivery of Bahrich’s vocal outpourings. A summery haze of indie-pop floods the initial few bars of EP highlight “Red”, before the song takes flight in an evolving rush of longing in repetition. There’s a playfulness that borders on naivety, yet at its core “Red” is armed with grit. Crashing drum inflections and an accelerating, jagged melody, all toy with volume, propelling the duo into a pelt of fiery passion.
There’s a noticeably vast diversity in the sound of their four track offering, even at only 15 minutes in length. While the grunge-fuelled “Let It All Go” feels the most personal, and hits hard in its fluctuating emotional outbursts, it’s the quieter moments that really shine on this EP. Capturing the push and pull of intimacy, of pining and rejection, there’s an entanglement of feelings that need a much longer release to fully explore. But as the heavily more sombre “I Think I’m Losing” reveals, Bahrich really doesn’t know where she’s going just yet - or how to solve the complexities she’s found herself caught up in. If Wading is the duo accepting their descent into the deep end, Jana Bahrich is assuredly coming of age, and the duo are truly coming into their own.