mardi 11 octobre 2011

Let's do it in the AM (or PM either) with FrankMusik !

After a first album Complete Me in 2009 where UK-born Vincent James Turner first emerged as a new electro boy in the 80's inspired UK scene, here is the time for the real eclosion of this very talented boy : 2011 sees him releasing his new album Do it in the AM under his alias FrankMusik and, at the same time, Erasure's comeback album Tomorrow's World he produced for the synthpop uk veterans. - I will talk about this comeback album more in the end -

But for now, back to his solo work ; I hadn't really got into his first effort, although big names like Keane or Pet Shop Boys hired him as a support act for their UK tours, even before Complete Me was released. His first UK charting single Better off as two (UK#26) was good enough though, but the following single Confusion girl only reached #27 and the remixed single version that featured rapper Tinchy Stryder didn't grabbed me neither. His album featured co-production credits by Stuart Price, Jeremy Wheatley and Mark Taylor so I should've put more interest in this littl' boy... Just remembering Neil Tennant et Chris Lowe had him remix their Love etc. should have made me have a second thinking 'bout him. Gotta boyfriend was a hidden pop treasure inside it for example. Well, I guess it's better late than never...
After remixing more songs for different artists like Mika or Alphabeat for example, and collaborating with electro rappers Far East Movement, he started work on his second album with Martin Katszenbaum, head of Cherrytree Records and A&R for Lady Gaga, Far East Movement or Natalia Kills. Do it in the AM sees him releasing more 80's inspired electro pop with a lil' more touch of dance and commercial appeal than on Complete Me. Underground purists will shout for sure but I think it's for the better and Frankmusik can be proud to deliver good pop for a wider audience ! All co-produced (and for the most part co-written too) with Katszenbaum, the 13 songs of this album stand by themselves as pure pop gold of single quality.

The album was preceded by two singles, The fear inside first last year, and the title track in collaboration with the Far East Movement boys to really launch the CD. The fear inside is a 80's sounding vocoderized new wave/pop addictive track where Vincent's vocals shine in high notes to contrast with the synthetic ones. Do it in the AM is more of an actual sounding hit song where Far East Movement are surfing high on their Like a G6 worldwide smash hit to help Frankmusik shine in the charts. The chorus is repetitive and sticks to your brain to make you want to jump up and dance in rhythm all day long.
The album starts with another single potential song, We collide, full of blip-blip sounds very reminiscent of Erasure, but with a today's sound like he has used on their new album, and it has a very strong chorus. The second track, No I.D., is a duet with american girl Collette Carr, another fellow CherryTree signature, and this new one is even more appealing. It has been chosen as the new single off the album and it is a pure electro/pop anthem to my ears ! It is followed by Do it in the AM and No champagne, the third in a row collaboration track on the album, still with another Katszenbaum protegee, Natalia Kills this time. It may become another single even though it is a less straightforward song. The rhythm is inescapable though, and you will find yourself nodding your head to the song, no doubt ! From then on, Frankmusik doesn't share his mic anymore and Footsteps is the first of the solo songs to follow and another addictive single alert ! Verses are all calm but with a piano pulsating to bring onto the chorus and its lightful melody and nice vocals.
After The fear inside inclusion in between, it is time for another pop masterpiece, Wrecking ball, that has a killer rhythm and addictive-as-hell chorus ; this one has more autotuned vocoderized vocals at bits so it sounds more electro than the previous one : This album really sounds like a collection of hit singles to me, as if Frankmusik had written a billion songs and only chose to include the singles, except I very doubt all of them will be released as singles ; they could though !
Running starts all R&B-ish, with still electro instrumentation though, and it's astonishing this one hasn't been featuring some rapper as it could have easily. I doubt a release single is on the line for this repetitive one, maybe the first that disappoints me a little. Brake lights is back for good, in a Taio Cruz or Jason DeRülo sound-a-like territory I feel, and MUST become a single !! The verses are wonderful but the chorus is even better ! And it keeps gettin' better with following track Struck by lightning which has another killer chorus with high pitched melody and nice piano arrangements behind the dance bits, like David Guetta's When love takes over, but with an angrier chant, urban and electro at the same time. There will never be enough singles released from this album to satisfy me 'cos I wish more than half of the songs would be airplayed as singles on radios all over the world... Ludicrous is another super catchy electro/pop song with nice arrangements but compared to its two previous track, I wouldn't see it as a single, but who knows ?
Last tracks on the album are Blame it on me and Cut me down. The first one has a nice melody for the verse with electro sounds and once more, a catchy but slightly repetitive chorus of hip-hop inspiration. The electro arrangements of this one could have easily been done by David Guetta and I wish the two men team up sometimes soon so that Frankmusik may reach a higher level of recognation in the pop music world. The latter and ending track follows the same path, with a very strong electro chorus, but with lighter moody mid-tempo verses. Both will stay as very good album tracks for me, so that my list of potential singles doesn't include more than 6 album tracks of this CD : #1, 4, 5, 6, 9 & 10, as #2, 3 & 6 already are...

Now my Frankmusik tribute post wouldn't be complete without a little review of Tomorrow's World, the album he produced for Erasure that has just been released too.
The english duo is one of Vincent's influences and he must have been amazed to work with them, but that didn't impressed him enough to lose his magic and he has succeed in updating their synthpop sound without losing their roots : they still sound like your usual Erasure, but not dated like their previous albums were sometimes. Andy Bell's vocals are marvellous as always and as the duo wrote all the songs themselves, the Frankmusik influence is only in this updated sound, not in the melodies or lyrics. But that was enough to made me buy their new album while the last studio album I bought from them was Cowboy in 1997... with the exception of Andy's two solo CDs. I didn't fitted in Vince clarke's latest production sounds enough but Tomorrow's World and Vincent's wise production has changed it all.
What decided me too was that the songs are very good and catchy. Not a single filler in this tight tracklisting (9 songs !) and you will have to buy the deluxe 2CD edition to find one more track, Give me life, amongst remixes and demo versions, and should seek the iTunes download edition to find another one, Shot to the heart. I don't have this one yet though. For now, I stick to the songs I have and the single When I start to (break it all down) was a good preview of what the album had in store ; nice melody, good beat and killer chorus. The opening track Be with you has pure Erasure-ish instrumentation and a pulsating rhythm that will get your feet tapping to the ground all through it and its addictive melody ; it has to be the next single for sure ! Fill us with fire has the same receipe and sees Erasure bring back good memories of the Always / I Say I Say I Say era to me. What will I say when you're gone is pretty nice but lacks some instant catchiness to become a single. You've got to save me right now is a good album track, dark and moody. A whole lotta love run riot is another brilliant potential single, with very electro arrangements that deserves to be reworked by nowadays trendy remixers. I lose myself goes back to the synthpop Erasure-ish sound more with nice layers of reverberating synthés, and it has a very strong chorus melody with harder -nearly techno- sounds. Then I go twisting is lighter and breezy but still with a hard electro arrangement behind Andy Bell's beautiful angelic vocals. With Just when I thought it was ending, the boys put an end the the album with a calmer song, the first in line from the very start of the CD, but it doesn't bore me at all, and the chorus wakes the song up if it was ever needed, that's why I still say all the album's songs are uptempos.
But with only 9 songs, this album was way too short for me so I bought me the 2CD deluxe edition. The only other new song, Give me life, is a lighter slower song that maybe wouldn't have fitted in the 9 tracks CD1 but the chorus once again is strong and inescapable. Included are two Gareth Jones remixes, of tracks 2 & 7, a Frankmusik remix of current first single, and demo versions of tracks 1, 2, 4 & 7. This whole CD2 package is for the fan only I'm afraid... It wouldn't have hurt to include Shot to the heart here too... I'm still to download it from iTunes!
But even in its one CD form, this album is a great comeback for the english duo and I think they owe it a little to Frankmusik's magic : Two CDs that I needed in my CDthèque for sure !

1 commentaire:

  1. FrankMusik twitted last week he had been dropped by Cherrytree Records... so there won't be dozens of singles released from his album ...SADLY !(