Neal Francis’ sophomore album ‘In Plain Sight’ (ATO Records) offers up a body of work both enchanting and painfully self-aware, recorded entirely on tape with his bandmates. Mixed by Grammy Award-winner Dave Fridmann (Spoon, Tame Impala, Flaming Lips), the album spotlights Francis’s refined yet free-spirited performance on piano, an instrument he took up at the age of four. The album came to life over the course of a tumultuous year spent living in a possibly haunted church in Chicago. The result: a portrait of profound upheaval and weary resilience, presented in a kaleidoscopic sound that’s endlessly absorbing. ‘In Plain Sight’ ultimately reveals the possibility of redemption and transformation even as your world falls apart.
“When I started the process of writing these songs, I was so emotionally out-of-sorts and really kind of hopeless that I’d be able to come up with anything,” says Francis. “But then I sat down and started working, and embraced whatever inspiration came my way. Sometimes it felt like beating my head against a wall, but I tried to trust that it would lead somewhere. The whole thing was like a weird dream—this very strange time of terrible, wonderful isolation.”