Luke Franks Or The Federalists New Album Hits Next Week
Sounding much like an Austin band though they emerge from Northern California, they are either a blast of fresh sonic development or a reinterpretation of what made an earlier era of bands so influential.
The Way We Ran delivers a complex and deep integration of current indie sounds (M. Ward, Conor Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band, Fleet Foxes) and increasingly popular alt country flavors (Wilco, Ryan Adams) steeped with the vibe of esteemed bands that fill the playlists of classic rock radio stations. Nuanced, heart-wrenching, and picturesque lyrics, both provocative and evocative, are sung with a self-awareness and weariness that belie Franks' 23 years, sounding more like a middle-aged Johnny Cash than a young songwriter just past the legal drinking threshold.
Luke Franks Or The Federalists switches with comfort from pumped-up, overdriven rave-ups to mournful, introspective laments showcasing vocal stylings that echo the crooners of earlier eras. And like some those that Franks is compared to (Elvis Costello, Spoon, Wilco), Franks takes hold of but refuses to be held captive by traditional song structures. With a bow to classic radio pop, Franks' unexpected and immediately appealing melodies are conveyed on top of tight grooves and the intricate, woven interplay and layering of instruments. But unexpected diversions and the unleashing of more melody, and yet more melody, together forge hum-able, memorable songs, hooking listeners' attention and recall without relying on the more conventional pop song repetition.
For inspiration and models LFOTF leans on those seminal groups of the 70's that merged rock, folk, country, and, oftentimes, R&B grooves, and did not hesitate to extend instrumental sections, to shift time signatures, to embrace a wide range of song forms, feels, and textures -- whatever fit to carry the listener on an emotional journey. But those bands did not just jam out, they were songwriters first and foremost. Franks Or the Feds captures the essence of that period of music exploration, genre-expansion, and evolving song craft.
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