Frances Quinlan "Likewise" LP (2020)
Details: Debut solo album from Frances Quinlan (guitarist best known for leading the band Hop Along--North New Jersey, Quakertown, and Philadelphia, PA). Released in 2020 on Saddle Creek, black vinyl. New stock, sealed.
Description: “We should try again to talk,” Frances Quinlan writes. It is not just a lyric—it’s a suggestion, a warning, a plea, a wish. This request is woven throughout Likewise, their forthcoming solo album, amidst dramatically shifting motifs. Some are jubilant, some are dreamy and abstract, and a few are sinister, but within each dark void that Quinlan explores, there is a light peering back at them.
Frances Quinlan has built an identity for themself over the past decade as the lead songwriter and front-person of the Philadelphia-based band Hop Along, and their distinct voice is among the most recognizable and inimitable in music. While the band began as Quinlan's solo project (originally titled Hop Along, Queen Ansleis), Likewise is Quinlan's debut under their own name. To make the record, they enlisted the virtuosic skills of their bandmate Joe Reinhart, and together they produced the album at his studio, The Headroom, recording in stints over the course of a year.
With a renewed openness to explore different sounds, Quinlan supplements their 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 their lyrics and vocals—which have always been at the forefront of their music—to reach emotional depths like never before. Their 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.
Quinlan is a voyaging songwriter. Throughout Likewise, they confront what confounds them in the hopes that they will come out on the other side with a better sense of what it is to be human. They present listeners with a complicated, albeit spirited vision of what it could mean to truly engage with another person, to give a small piece of oneself over to someone else without expectation. Although such is likely to be a lifelong effort, these songs prove evident that light can still permeate from unsettling depths."
Grade: M (new stock)
TRACK LISTING SIDE A:
A1. Piltdown Man
A2. Your Reply
A3. Rare Thing
A4. Detroit Lake
A5. A Secret
TRACK LISTING SIDE B:
B1. Went To LA
B3. Now That I'm Back
B4. Carry the Zero