This may be Frank Viele’s first album, but it’s not his first foray in the world of music by any means. He performed numerous live shows in 2013 with the likes of Foreigner, Ingrid Michaelson and more, and won the 2014 New England Music Award for Live Act of the Year, all without releasing an album of his own. His debut is finally upon us, though, with the release of Fall Your Way.
The album contains a mixture of styles, varying between folk, blues and soul throughout, while also touching on others. It sounds interesting enough on paper, but it doesn’t quite work out. Broken Love Song doesn’t really work as an introduction to the album, with Viele’s vocals and often indecipherable lyrics working against the instrumental. Despite some interesting funk arrangements over some of the next few songs, there isn’t any real improvement either.
It’s six tracks in when things start changing with When You Gonna Come Home. The mid-tempo rock style of the aforementioned song feels easier to take in than what came before it, and his voice sounds more at home as well. Tonight I Must Leave Your Arms follows suit, using a similar style and with similar results. While it would seem that mid-tempo rock would be his forte based off of this, the reality is that When You Gonna Come Home marks a turning point in the quality of the album. The compositions on the later half of the album sound better thought out, and the vocal performances from Viele work better with the accompanying music. The use of brass instruments in the songs gives them a better sound and helps them to sound complete in comparison.
Kick Up Your Heels marks the point where the album really starts to show its strengths. The brass instruments are used at just the right moments and the song isn’t packed with unnecessary elements, allowing the focus to go to the guitar and bass instead of having multiple elements all vying for your attention and pulling you out of the song. By the time time the album ends on I Just Don’t Know, its calmest and most endearing mid-tempo, the improvement is more obvious than ever.
While the first half of the album was initially confusing, it’s a relief to see it pick up to such a considerable degree later on. But rather than creating a divisive album, the situation leads to something still worth listening to. If you give it the time it deserves and listen to the entire thing rather than just stopping after a few tracks if they aren’t to your liking, Fall Your Way is sure to leave a good impression.