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Frances Quinlan Releases Heartwarming New Solo Album

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The path of the songwriter contains glimpses of brilliance and a delicate balance between what feels right and what works in the moment. Few songwriters have a way of calming you with their voice while igniting you with their music. When you first hear the band Hop Along, that balance isn’t so delicate. Through the past ten years as a full band, Hop Along found a way to tug at your heart while delivering strengthened melodies. Now their lead singer and principle songwriter Frances Quinlan is ready to give solo work a try. Though some members of Hop Along are on her new album Likewise, Quinlan finds the space between emboldened lyrics and catchy refrain to pull you in note by note.

The album contains quite a bit from the start. The nine song album showcases the sharp songwriting skills that Quinlan has honed in the past decade with Hop Along. The opening song “Piltdown Man” is a great place to start. The stark organ that leads the track gets cut with Quinlan’s songbird vocals. Like a Starling calling out across the forest floor, the way the vocals dance above the keys creates a melodious tone that’s hard not to fall for. It seems so organic and the perfect jump point for this album to get going.

Where Quinlan makes you more joyous on “Your Reply,” it’s not the euphonious licks that create happiness here. Perhaps it’s the conversational manner in which the vocals are laid out, or maybe it’s the happy-go-lucky pacing; but the song should bring a smile to anyone who hears it. This continues on “Rare Thing” and “Detroit Lake,” where while both contain new instrumentation, they have quite the catchy structures. But while “Detroit Lake” takes this new found electronic pertinence to new heights, the album isn’t all about upbeat tracks.

“A Secret” has such a rush of folk tinged beauty that helps catapult Quinlan’s voice that it mesmerizes you as it plays. There’s a heft and a magical depth to the song, that comes off like a gentle story that you’re hearing for the first time. With “Lean,” Quinlan adds orchestral characters and delves into a world outside of her indie rock universe for which she’s become known for. However, as stirred as the final track “Carry the Zero” made us feel with its electronica touches, the song “Went to LA” was where we found ourselves loving every note. The build through the acoustic that begins the song only feels contemporary with the underlying keys that lie underneath. While the vocals give way to this structured feel, the instruments form an amorphous sound that surrounds you before Quinlan drives the song home with her powerful voice. Likewise is an album full of emotion and carefully crafted songs coming from a songwriter who knows who they are, while exploring the space between singer songwriter and catchy hooks.

Likewise is available to purchase physically on multiple formats directly from Saddle Creek Records. It is also ready to stream on all streaming sites or to purchase digitally from all online retailers. Frances Quinlan is on tour starting February 07 in Washington, DC at The Anthem until March 14 in San Diego, Ca at Casbah. Her complete tour schedule can be located here.

Image Credits: Photo by Julia Khorosilov.

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David Garrick

David Garrick has spent the last five years interviewing some of the most intriguing and engaging artists performing today. Everyone from Angel Olsen to Phoebe Bridgers, Wire to Yo La Tengo, Snail Mail to Soccer Mommy, Ghost to First Aid Kit, The Breeders to Protomartyr, and many more. He's a giant fan of music of pretty much any genre; but especially to the underdogs. He's been known to see more concerts in a week than many people will see in a year.

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