Frances Quinlan

Frances Quinlan – Likewise (album review)

by Woody on February 7, 2020

Photo Credit – Julia Khorosilov

Frances Quinlan is the lead singer and driving force of Hop Along. As a general rule of thumb, I am not a fan of solo albums when the lead singer steps away from their band. It feels like my parents are breaking up and I won’t have it. Even when I do enjoy the solo effort, I always enjoy the effort of the band better. Craig Finn is a prime example of this.

So with that in mind, do I like Frances better with Hop Along? Yes. Do I really like this album? Yes, very much so. Quinlan’s voice is obviously front and center here but the music is toned down throughout. In addition, she explores new sounds including synths which work mostly well; and I’m no fan of synths.

The thing I like about this album is what I like best about Craig Finn’s album. It’s different but not too different. There is still a connection to the main band. The opener Piltdown Man sounds like it could have been fleshed out into a Hop Along rager but I am so glad that she chose not to. That dovetails into Your Reply and you are well on your way to knowing you’re got something special on your hands here. A little later on, Quinlan opens up her signature pipes on Went To LA on what on the top tracks of the album. And then closes the album with a nice take on Built To Spill’s Carry The Zero.

Over the years I have said I would listen to such and such sing the phone book. Quinlan has one of those voices. The fact that she’s just an amazing writer is just the cherry on top.

Follow me on Twitter at @WoodyHearYa or @HearYa

Hop Along is here

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Photo Credit – Julia Khorosilov

Frances Quinlan of Hop Along is set to release her solo debut next year via the fine folks at Saddle Creek. I love Hop Along, one of my favorites around now. Much of that love is built around Quinlan’s unique and brilliant vocals. There are new sounds supporting Quinlan and I’d be lying if I said it didn’t take a couple of listens to come around on it; but she’s phenomenal. I’m looking forward to hearing the rest. Here’s some more info from Saddle Creek.

With a renewed openness to explore different sounds, Quinlan supplements her typical guitar-based instrumentation with synthesizers, digital beats, harps, strings, and a wide variety of keyboards. The shifting and exploratory nature of these musical arrangements allow her lyrics and vocals—which have always been at the forefront of her music—to reach emotional depths like never before. Her vocal tones beckon a kaleidoscopic range of emotions across all nine songs on the album, from soft and ruminative to enraged and commanding; from conveying powerful messages to highlighting small, yet poignant, moments.

Follow me on Twitter at @WoodyHearYa or @HearYa

Hop Along is here

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