Oftentimes, the idea behind releasing a 7” is to give the listener a taste of what to expect from the forthcoming album. However, these two A-sides from moody indie duo Frank’s Daughter paint two very distinct pictures of the band’s gloomy, yet buoyant sound. This isn’t exactly their debut – earlier this year, Frank and Arthur dropped their first single, “Fall Fully Backwards”, on 6Music and Xfm, an atmospheric wonder with a pulsing, brooding bass line. (If you missed that, by the way, it IS available on Spotify.) While the morose nature underlying that track remains central to this release, Frank’s Daughter have explored other ways to infect you with sorrow (which they WILL do) on each of the two A-sides.
In the first few seconds of “Playground 71”, Frank’s eerily Thom Yorke-esque vocals and the reserved trickling guitar suggest an uncanny resemblance to Radiohead, perhaps circa Hail To The Thief. But when that straightforward beat kicks in around 0’44”, the track builds its own momentum, quietly but steadily; by the time we reach the skittering drum loop, with fragments of chimes drift flitting around us, we realize that something unusual is happening. This is usually the sort of trick that drum n’ bass artists love to drop in their works, evoking only sheer pleasure; here, however, the loop disrupts the suspended dreamscape, creating an unsettling sense of unrest. It’s extremely engaging.
Yet the second A-side, “Best Glow”, strips away that kinetic energy, leaving only the bare bones of a strum, some sulking electric buzz, and Frank’s haunting (or haunted?) vocals. We expect, however, with the gradual crescendo of the final verse, that the song will open up, and ease this growing tension crawling up your spine – but no. At the last second the music abandons you – and it’s just you and Frank, alone, naked, shoved violently off a cliff. Even after multiple listens, that ending STILL gets me. I feel as hurt, rejected and even betrayed as the traumatized narrator, whose last words crystallize those emotions so clearly: “I may never feel the life on you, / and I may never, ever walk the same way again -“
So, if you’re prepared to be shrouded in gloom (as I was today), tune in below. Frank’s Daughter’s limited edition AA single – lovingly stitched together with book threads and sealed in wax – comes out on Immure Records on 10 June, followed by the full album on the 17th.
Frank’s Daughter have also been kind enough to give us this exclusive Landscape mix of Fall Fully Backwards. Listen to it here:
Words by Lee Adcock.