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December 2020 / January 2021
Album review

Frances Quinlan - Likewise

Frances' voice is all at once defiant, urgent, and wildly chaotic.
Label: Saddle Creek
Released: 31st January 2020
Rating: ★★★★
Frances Quinlan - Likewise
Published: 12:54 pm, January 30, 2020Words: Tyler Damara Kelly.

Better known for her role as the vocalist of indie-rock band Hop Along, Frances Quinlan has one of those voices which is distinctly noticeable from the first breath. On her debut solo album 'Likewise', she explores a softer side to her usual realms of instrumentation, which allows her vocal cords to flourish. 

By re-working her sound palette to rely more on a plethora of synths, strings and keys; Frances has created a body of work that allows the mastery of her lyricism and vocals to soar to heights that didn't seem able to be surpassable from her previous work. Residing in quiet jubilation at times, Frances' voice is all at once defiant, urgent, and wildly chaotic - often tapping into the quirky intricacies of musicians like Fiona Apple and Regina Spektor. 

'Likewise' is an exploration on conversation - whether it be with yourself, or someone else. From her inability to stop interrupting them in 'Detroit Lake' and 'A Secret', to the internal dialogues of 'Went to LA' and 'Lean', Frances pulls the listener into her unique outlook on the world with that distinctly idiosyncratic lyrical content that we've seen hints of in Hop Along's music. 

There are often darker elements that are touched on, but it is the more sensitive moments that really stand out. 'Rare Thing' was inspired by a dream Frances had about her niece: "I know there is a love that doesn't have to do with taking something from somebody", and the proclamation in 'Carry The Zero' to "count your blemishes" comes across as a poetical take on optimism, serving as a faultless takeaway from the album as a whole. 

'Likewise' does not feel like a debut. It is a rumination on all aspects of life, and feels as though this is something that Frances has had up her sleeve for a long time, just waiting for the right moment to put it out into the universe.

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