Friday 14 June 2013

Frankmusik - Between Us

Is there anything more embarrassing than the last song of an album being entitled Final Song?  It didn’t work for Rihanna (Last Song – ‘Rated R’) or Clare Maguire (This Is Not The End  - ‘Light After Dark’) and it doesn’t work for Frankmusik.  Even the opening track of ‘Between Us’, Chasing Shadows, begins with the line “The sun appears”.  It’s hardly a subtle way of bookending an album.

Between these tracks, this third album from Vincent Turner (and the first to be self-released) is a mixed bag.  It doesn’t match his exciting debut ‘Complete Me’, but it’s a darn sight better than ‘Do It In The AM’.

Turner has always been at his best when writing hyperactive, neon-charged electro pop sung in his sweet falsetto.  It’s no wonder he was influenced by J-Pop acts like Kyary Pamyu Pamyu and her energetic, cartoonish performances.  As such, the obvious album highlights are Cake and Captain: the former an appropriately sugary pop track that’s as close to J-Pop than anyone in the UK has come close to creating, the latter a frenzied yet infectious slice of electro pop (even with his annoying pronunciation of “Cap-i-turn”). 

After parting ways with Island Records in 2011 (following the disappointing ‘Do It In The AM’), much of this new material is a not so subtle jab at his former label.  Fast As I Can and Life (Is My Revenge) are clear statements of intent, not only running as fast as he can from his past but stating “I’m trapped within your walls and I hear you call and I know I can find the strength to leave”.  Map takes a similar stance with its chorus lyric “I never wanna find my way back”.  ‘Between Us’ definitely sees Turner in a newfound state of liberation, but production-wise the music doesn’t contain the same thrilling idiosyncrasies as ‘Complete Me’.

Where Turner excels at up-tempo tracks, he falls down with ballads.  The duet with Cara Salimando, How Do We Know?, feels laboured and, with its predominantly piano instrumentation, lacks the creative production Turner is known for.  The lyrics of Stronger, meanwhile, are as soppy as a wet dishclosh. 

‘Between Us’ reveals both the strengths and weaknesses of Frankmusik.  In that respect, Turner’s freedom has undoubtedly resulted in his most honest album to date.


Gizzle’s Choice:
* Cake
* Captain
* Fast As I Can

Listen: ‘Between Us’ is available now.