Don’t be fooled by their band name. The Frail are anything but weak – in fact, they’re headed to new heights this year. The San Francisco group are garnering a considerable amount of attention within the music world, having opened for acts such as Neon Trees and Goldfrapp in their respective tours. It’s been a while since their last EP Lasers Over Lovers in 2011, but the colourful band are now back with their first full length offering, Love Death Legend. Fans will be delighted to hear that The Frail are back doing what they do best: delivering infectious fusions of electro-pop, synth and rock, track after track.
Lead singer Daniel Lannon oozes fun and boyish cheekiness in this album. In the first track, Back To Me, he certainly elevates the playfulness of their sound. The combination of Lannon’s vocals and psychedelic synths – as well as a dash of rock – create an upbeat, danceable track with a clap-along beat. You Just Wanna Leave follows a similar structure, only with more pounding drums and rock undertones. It’s a carefree, breezy track evoking that feeling of lazy summer days. They’ve also got wild nights covered – Daylight is a high and intense party anthem with a strong club-like feel. Lannon’s vocals are slick and seductive as he describes a euphoric night out. Yet the gem of this track is really the production, which really makes it seem as though you’re on drugs. It’s both psychedelic and disorientating, especially when the synths skyrocket to an impossibly nasal tone. Doobie’s rap is a nice touch to this track, adding to the hyperactive atmosphere that The Frail have created. At times however, Lannon’s vocals are overshadowed by the hubbub of the accompaniment – his melodies are relatively simple compared to the electronic symphonies going on in the background.
It’s a shame, because Lannon’s lyrics are extremely thought-provoking at times. Take Run Life, for example. It’s a slightly slower track compared to the others, the mixture of rock and synth creating a more chilled vibe. It has some serious undertones though, as Lannon laments about the loss of loved ones. The message here is that we ought to open our eyes to the beauty of life: “I think she finally woke up,” he croons, “it’s taken a while but she’s come around.” Likewise, the introspective Life Is Done has deep lyrics that make you want to think. Granted, “nobody knows how we got here” – but the tinkling synths and poppy beats conveys that although life is comprised of unanswered questions, things will ultimately be okay. Lannon has a knack for evoking the appropriate emotions according to the message of each song. In We Can Never, his angst is represented through low staccato beats, building up to an explosive bass drop. The overall effect is both frantic and magical, combining inspirations of both pop and EDM to create a danceable track.
Lyrically strong and slickly produced, The Frail have a winner in their hands. Just take a moment and listen carefully to what Lannon has to say – his messages are quite reflective for a dance-inspired album. The Frail goes against the current in this way; while they utilise typical EDM/rock vibes, they combine this element with strong and challenging lyrics that push the borders of pop music. And if you’re not into what they’re saying, well, at least you’ll still be able to dance along.