Album review / Feature

Album Review: Frankmusik – Between

June saw the release of Vincent Frank’s (aka Frankmusik) much anticipated third album ‘Between’. Self released in digital only format, ‘Between’ carries on where ‘Complete Me’ left off, which will come as welcome news to fans who felt that Vincent’s American influenced second album wasn’t up to standard.

Chasing Shadows: The opening track starts gently but atmospherically, before setting the tone for the album, both sonically and thematically. ‘You move slow, even at 67,000 miles per hour’ is a gem of a line, as is ‘When I needed you the most I lost you to the night’. Frankmusik states ‘There’s no between / Just red, green, and blue’ which not only scares the bejesus out of us for the thought of a yellowless and purpleless world, but also touches base with the name of the album, implying that Frankmusik is in a state of a mind where he feels trapped and unable to move on. The metaphor of chasing shadows is a well thought through one; immediately childish in nature, yet the assertion from Frankmuisk that ‘I keep chasing shadows / I have done for years’ hints that he’s not learnt from past failures. 7/10

Map: ‘Map’ was far and away our favourite from the ‘Far From Over’ album-teaser EP released in February, and our thoughts on it haven’t changed. In fact, our love for the track has probably grown. To quote ourselves from April describing the track: “Lines such as ‘It’s not that I’m lost, I just don’t want to be found’ and ‘I’ll take you off my map’ beautifully use the metaphor of a map to describe the breakdown of a relationship and possibly also the detriment of one’s mental health.” It’s a genius track and one that we can’t get enough of. Frankmusik at his very, very, very best. 10/10

Cake: ‘Cake’ sees the return of the extra-bleepy, raw, and energetic Frankmusik that had been watered down during Vincent’s major label exploits. The song trots along at a hundred miles an hour with delightfully delivered vocals. The best part of the song simply must be the breakdown at the end of the first chorus that joyfully proclaims ‘You can’t have your cake and eat it too’ over glorious and brilliant Nintendoesque bleeps and blips. This one is an absolute wonder to listen to, with a lot going on in the mix behind the vocals to keep everyone satisfied. In its outro it faintly reminds us of ‘3 Little Words’, which isn’t a bad comparison point for this song. 9/10

Captain: One important point to note in this song is Frankmusik’s odd pronunciation of Captain. This song uses the metaphor of sailing to describe the demise of a relationship … seeing a thematic pattern here yet? Nonetheless it is an absolutely stomper of a song, again staying with Frankmusik’s signature bleepy electronic sounds that we have come to cherish so dearly. Frankmusik rather ironically sings in this song ‘No point in regretting’, yet this album feels like one long regret; be it a regret that a relationship ended in demise or regret that he spent so long on a failed relationship. Our favourite part is the ‘We used to know our way back home / We had a lighthouse’ line. Let’s consider this for a second. Wherever you live, you tend to know how to get back there. Living in a tall house with a shining beacon shouldn’t make knowing where you live any easier, except perhaps once or twice a year in times of an extreme fog. Anyway, we’re digressing, for this song is another one of our favourites on the album. The song ends with stormy wind sound effects, and as you should know by now, we love sound effects, particularly cinematic ones. 9/10

Pins and Needles: We’re not so keen on ballady electronic Frankmusik (ballady acoustic Frankmusik is another matter) and we do consequently find this track a bit of a drag. Honestly, we kind of feel like Frankmusik is retreading past material such as ‘Your Boy’ with this. We do like the line about being ’50 shades of you’ though. One to skip for us, although it must be said Frankmusik’s soaring vocals on this track are listenable. 5/10

Fast As I Can: The intro to this song almost sounds like a Basement Jaxx effort, but soon enough the song transforms into another slowie. Also, Vincent sounds a bit unreasonable when he demands ‘Just leave my town’. Maybe you should be the one to leave if you feel that affected by somebody’s presence. Some interesting vocal and background production on the chorus sadly isn’t enough to save this song for us, and we find ourselves skipping this one as well. 5/10

Life (Is My Revenge): We like the line ‘I won’t need a passport for where I’m going’, for we assume this means that Frankmusik doesn’t plan to leave the country and instead will be residing somewhere within the United Kingdom. Fair play to staying true to your roots. Otherwise, this song is again fairly unremarkable, and sadly some dubstepesque electronica threatens to creep in at 2:19 to ruin the song, although thankfully it remains in the background. Disappointing. 5/10

How Do We Know? (featuring Cara Salimando): Frankmusik has kept the collaborations on the low for his third album, this being the sole track which features another artist. This completely suits the ‘solo spurned man’ thematic feel of this album, but how does bringing in a female vocalist work in this context? Surprisingly,the answer is very well indeed. The song starts with a very delicate tinkly piano and before long we hear Cara inform Vincent ‘You are the loneliest light / Peering too bright…’ There’s some beautiful harmonisation with ‘We’re so distracted now, darling’ and an amazingly clever bit where Frankmusik sings ‘I’m done getting fucked’ and Cara replies ‘and I’m done fucking up’. We also like this line ‘Smoke every menthol till you forget’ and ‘Is this a house or a home?’ The lines are split relatively equally and their voices blend together. Put simply, this is an intelligent and well written two-handed break up song, and it is chilling in its radiant orchestral elegance. Plus it has a charming little tinkle by means of an outro too. 9/10

Stronger: We are back to another ballad but this one is extremely different to the three which we so struggled with earlier. This one packs a lot more punch to it with a fantastic bridge and a strong chorus. The lyrics border on the cheesy within this song, but the delivery of the vocals negate this, and indeed guide the song to be better than it should be on paper; there’s something very personal, touching and compelling about the way they are delivered. As Vincent declares ‘I’m closer than I’ve ever been’ we start to actually believe him. 9/10

Did Love: This song opens with some odd dialogue which we assume is a sample taken from a film, but having Googled it and drawn a blank, we’re not sure. Anyway at long last we’re back to ‘Happy Frankmusik’ and this manifests itself in a boppy tune. As the chorus explodes, there’s a burst of sound, with far too much going on for us to process it all. Later on in the song the synthesier pushes out some truly odd sounds. This probably would be chosen as a single were Frankmusik still on a record label although there is something that jars us a little bit with the way the song carries itself. It almost sounds like a song which should have been sung by Mika. We honestly do like this song, but at the same time we’re also a little unsure of it. The song definitely sounds too happy considering it discusses ‘the end’, and during the middle  Vincent sounds very gruff. ‘My bed’s so empty it could be it’s own republic’ should hint at the sort of madness which lies within this song. It’s bloody bonkers. 8/10

Final Song: With such a clichéd name for the album’s last track, we weren’t holding out much hope for this song. Yep – it’s another ballad – and just as we thought Vincent had seen the error of his ways, had turned a corner, and was finally feeling upbeat. ‘This will be my final song to you’ must be repeated at least 15 times throughout the song, and whilst we understand what Vincent is trying to do here,it is executed relatively crassly. We do quite like the middle 8 however, an oddly delicious repetition of ‘This will be the last song that I write.’ 5/10

“Hidden” bonus track – Thank You: ‘Thank You’ is an enjoyable romp which sees Frankmusik crank up the electro for the delectable chorus. We like this one, and we like it a lot. 9/10

Overall then we clearly have a bit of a quandary. We really enjoy the majority of the album, but the run of 3 ballads in the middle comes close to ruining the whole thing for us. We honestly could do without ‘Pins and Needles’, ‘Fast As I Can’, and ‘Life (Is My Revenge).’ Otherwise, ‘Final Song’ is the only thing that comes close to ruining the album’s otherwise stellar and often extremely impressive line up of songs including ‘Map’, ‘Cake’, ‘Captain’, ‘How Do We Know?’, ‘Stronger’, ‘Did Love’, and ‘Thank You’. It’s clear that Frankmusik is back to making the sort of music we most relish and enjoy from him, and in many ways this feels like a rightful successor to debut album ‘Complete Me’. As things stand, we find our opinion of Frankmusik has increased, but yet we can’t help but think he still has a little more to give. A few less boring ballads, or a few more in the style of ‘How Do We Know?’ and ‘Stronger’, and this album would have been an all-out amazing thing. As it stands, it’s a very good thing, but one with a few faults in. Nonetheless, Frankmusik proves his production, songwriting, and singing skills, and that is something that can’t be underestimated. He’s a very talented, creative pop star and we can’t wait to hear more from him. We only wish the wider public would recognise Vincent’s abilities and reward him with wider commercial success. Album rating: 8/10

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One thought on “Album Review: Frankmusik – Between

  1. Pingback: Thought of the day: The Times They Are A-Changing | popfools

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