Julia Werup: Dear Frances

Editor's Choice

Rating: ★★★★

Record and Artist Details


Niclas Campagnol (b)
Julia Werup (v)
Svend Erik Lundeqvist (p)
Andreas Kleerup (v)
Johnny Åman (b)
Matthias Petri (b)
Thomas Blachman (d, prog)




Media Format:


Catalogue Number:



Rec. date not stated

An under-appreciated downside of the Covid pandemic and its associated lockdowns was the fact that a lot of albums got lost. One of the best platters of 2020 was vocalist Julia Werup’s The Thrill of Loving You, but it slipped out unnoticed.

Unfortunately I didn’t get to hear it until late 2021, but fell in love with this brilliant covers set in which the Swedish poet and singer – daughter of renowned author and jazzer Jacques Werup (1945-2016) – created startling versions of jazz standards in collaboration with musical and life partner Thomas Blachman. Thrill was infused with brooding darkness, with outstanding versions of ‘Blackbird’, ‘The Thrill Is Gone’, ‘Afro Blue’ and a sample-heavy, almost mechanical take on ‘Take Five’ which took these old warhorses into genuinely new territory.

This oversight couldn't be repeated, so follow-up Dear Frances went straight to the top of my 'must-review' list. A collection of (mostly) original tunes, written and recorded while Werup was pregnant, it is perhaps lighter in tone, but conceptually similar, to its heavier forebear. It doesn't suffer in comparison: brilliant opener 'No More Fuss' features the echo-swathed drums, glitchy electronics, piano shards, wispy of melodies and Werup's aloof-yet-committed singing that made Thrill so compelling. 'Bird' is a well-told, insanely catchy account of a relationship in trouble; 'Rain' is beautifully terse; 'Just Let Him Know You Love Him' is a deliciously spicy jazz throb, all empty space and woozy electronics; and 'Time Of Life' is melodic glitchtronica that demonstrates Blachman's talents as an arranger and producer; I would love to hear him working with more artists.

If there's a criticism to be made it's that at 31 minutes, this splendid album is just too short. That aside, don't let Dear Frances slip under your radar – and check out The Thrill Of Loving You if you missed out back in 2020.

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