The Frightnrs – Nothing More To Say
Please forgive the evangelical tone of this piece but this LP has had a big effect on me. This first full length album by The Frightnrs is one of those records that nourishes your soul. There is no shortage of great music out there, but finding something that evokes a real emotional response is quite rare. There are so many layers of emotion in Nothing More To Say, loss, death, relationship heartbreak, that you must have a stone heart to not feel something when you immerse yourself in the tracks.
As some background The Frightnrs are a Queens, New York based foursome (Dan Klein, Rich Terrana, Chuck & Preet Patel) who despite their young ages have produced a very mature and moving set of soulful rocksteady tunes. The songs have elements of Motown, doo-wop, in fact they are a complete distillation of what Jamaica was listening to in the 50s and 60s.
I defy anyone not to be moved by the opening track ‘All My Tears’ (have a listen below), it’s achingly beautiful, it’s sad, it’s melancholic, it’s just so moving. Dan’s expressive falsetto voice makes you think of those brilliant young singers plying their trade in Jamaica’s fledgling recording industry. The tone, the production and even the album art takes you back to a decade when soul was the most important thing in music. What makes this track (and the whole LP) particularly poignant was the death of Dan earlier this year from a debilitating disease called ALS. This track is about shedding tears over a lost love and once you know about the loss of Dan, it adds another layer, that of lost talent and a lost future.
The album as a whole is beautifully cohesive. Daptone, their record label insisted on a true rocksteady album and this is what they got. Producer Victor Axelrod explains on their website ‘The fact that the direction of the album was determined by it being a Daptone record was crucial. We wanted to make a solid and cohesive record and so chose songs that most fit the Daptone aesthetic and the result was the best music that Dan and the Frightnrs had ever made with truly expanded levels of creativity.’
It is difficult to pick highlights due to the strength of the whole set. ‘Gonna Make Time‘ has a lovely laid back groove. It’s reflective tone suits the subject of making time to see those you love and not to take those closest for granted. All of Dan’s lyrics are so mature, he has either been very unlucky in love or has good insight into what makes relationships deteriorate. ‘Nothing More to Say‘ with it’s close harmonies has a strong Motown feel, this track is all about the disappointment of a relationship that never developed and what could have been. Final track ‘Dispute‘ is a great example of the musicianship on the album. The sparse arrangement gives each instrument their own space to express themselves, each acts as a voice offering their own advice on Dan’s story of blame, distrust and disagreement.
I have tried to steer away from a mawkish tone in this review, but this is my blog and at times it is good to lay bare your admiration for something. You can’t help feeling that Dan’s death has curtailed what would have been the start of a stellar career for the band, so I do hope the other guys develop their talents and continue to produce fantastic music. This album has already featured on lots of ‘best of 2016’ lists and I have no doubt it will go down as a classic and be remembered in years to come.
The album is available at the band’s Bandcamp site and in all good outlets.
I hope this review prompts you to seek out this album, please comment if you want to and social media shares would be much appreciated. Bless, Paper Lion