I remember the first time I met Tom very well. It was the day WU LYF’s Go Tell Fire to the Mountain went out, and we ended up – God knows why – watching the Eiffel Tower lighting up under the rain, our arms covered in fake tattoos, a bottle of bad champagne in hand and an old grocery list covered in French films names in the pocket.
I also remember the first time I heard Tom’s voice very well. He had sent me a track recorded in his bedroom under the name of Francis Lung. The demo was “Brooklyn Girls”, a quiet but beautiful ballad full of reverb, way more melancholic than WU LYF’s intransigent stabs. I listened to the track on loop, before he sent me other treasures – “Faeher’s Son”, “Age Limits”, “Solemn”… – that I still cherish years later.
Tom’s voice has this soft fragility that breaks your heart as much as it cures its scars. There’s something of a tightrope walker about to fall in his songwriting and the way he performs his songs, always on the edge. He’s also capable of pushing his voice, giving it all, losing it all in the rawest way possible, and he can even make you dance on the ashes of his disillusionments when he and his band play “Selfish Man” or “Dance 4 Sorrow” on stage.
It’s this beautiful schizophrenia, this troubling double-dealing – Francis Lung might be the most realistic alter ego Tom could have created – that fascinates me, whether he is behind a piano or a guitar, like during the sunny afternoon we spent with him last April.
Francis Lung new ep, Mother’s Son Vol II, will be available on September 16th here.