Chicago indie-rock band Fran is the result of frontwoman Maria Jacobson’s transition from acting to singing. The Chicago-area native participated in youth acting programs and studied at Bennington College before switching lanes and focusing solely on music. Four years ago, she learned to play the guitar and created Fran; and while the medium of expression may have changed from theater to song, the motivation behind it remains the same. “I feel that I am a songwriter for the same reason I wanted to be an actor,” Jacobsen writes in the album notes for A Private Picture, ”I want to tell the truth.” The group’s debut album has personal truths and declarations at its core.
On social media, Fran cheekily call their music “sexy rock you can cry to.” A Private Picture takes listeners on a journey of love and self-discovery. The album’s lyrics are straightforward, and the music is airy and delicate. On opener “Now,” Jacobson’s steady voice envelopes the track’s gentle guitar strumming. “Now that I’ve found you, the aching feels good,” she sings before the song bursts into sweeping rock. On the hooky “In My Own Time, Jacobson sings, “But if I open up my eyes, I’ll see it in my own time,” over a folk guitar melody. On the melancholy closer, “Desert Wander,” Jacobson asks, “Who will take care of me,” ending the album on the same yearning note with which it began. Of writing the album, Jacobsen said, “I cry when I write songs because I am constantly making discoveries, about myself, about the world, about the best way to convey and connect and get closer.” A Private Picture encapsulates that feeling of loss and longing.