(Photo Credit - Julia Khorosilov)
Advance Review - Frances Quinlan: 'Likewise' (January 31, 2020)
Frances Quinlan takes a powerful step into the spotlight on her solo debut Likewise after years of fronting the indie act Hop Along. What immediately jumps out from the record are Quinlan's incomparable vocals. She clearly has a gift of range and a crisp vocal style that is perfect for indie music. She effortlessly floats into slight falsettos on the album that grab you and hold you.
Another strong aspect of Likewise is the diversity of instrumentation throughout the album. Quinlan throws a little of everything at you here with the prevalent use of piano, guitar, synth, and bells on various tracks throughout. Musically, the melodies are crisp and playful (especially on tracks like "Rare Thing" and "Detroit Lake"). Combined with Quinlan's top-notch vocals, she is able to achieve a fantastic mix of indie and pop that is fresh and clean.
Now to talk about a few of our favorites. To be honest, the album is full of winners and is best listened front to back However, we would be remiss if we didn't include her cover of Built to Spill's "Carry the Zero" in which she completely transforms the song. However, at the same time nods back to Built to Spill with some shredding guitar work that lays over the bright fun rhythm she developed. Far too often when artists cover songs, they don't do anything to transform the song or make it their own and we often wonder "what's the point?". That's not the case here as she's clearly made this classic from Built to Spill her own. Another winner on the album is "A Secret" where Quinlan strips everything down and utilizes an acoustic guitar to accompany her vocals. It's simply brilliant. Finally, another must is "Went to LA", where Quinlan incorporates some dynamic lead guitar and also really stretches her vocal range to a soulful gritty space before playing with falsetto again.
This album is a straight winner. Frances Quinlan has clearly raised her profile with these songs (as you can probably tell if you listen to alt radio on the regular). I'm expecting big things from Quinlan's solo work in the future, as she has a fresh perspective and a lot to offer. This one is definitely a must for you to check out and is clearly #AltRevueApproved.
Rating - 4.5/5