Fond Memories of Al
For me, almost the fun of two songs in one. Very well done. One of the many hooks that stuck with me more so than others on this album. I think it might be the way Hans belts out the title hook in that one. Just the right power in the delivery. A good highlight of how he handles the vocal challenges created there during the run to the end tag.
I dig the key change in the second verse. Larimer finds several moments to shine as well. Her hardest work I think on the album. I’ll have to ask her about that next time I see her.
Still...30 listens later and I’m not certain who the hell ‘Al’ is… - 😁
featuring Abby Eddy on cello
Not a departure; but a neat little sidestep from the vibe set by the last track. What I like about this one (other than the addition here of the cello - what a great sound), is that the intro lines keep you teased for the chorus until the second stanza. Then again for a quick breakdown, and a short wait for the bridge.
I pay attention to bridge work. It’s not the easiest part of composing a song; a really good one anyway. Well done here on the bridge Muffins, well done; especially in the build-ups and harmony as the track eases up into and against the breakdowns.
Dig the soft approach on this one. Nothing surprising, soft, easy. Rest.
Again with a fun and quick music hook. You guys…
And it’s not like the title hook is all about the lyrics. The vocal harmony that lands the chorus is the hook. They could have hummed that part and it would have been equally hookable.
The fun with Ghost Light is that your light can be anything. It doesn’t have to be what it was for Hans. Pause mentally during this song and decide for yourself.
No Idea (All For Nothing)
This could my first choice for airplay. It’s a toss-up between this track and Diabolic. The way it starts creates an expectation for a good song. They deliver.
It has several good hooks. Yes, “hey...it’s not your fault…” followed me into the shower.
Hey, don’t judge. There are great fucking acoustics in there.
This is a full AND happy song. It’s got everything you need to tap your feet, nod your head, and shake your hips. Then, if you’re feeling extra saucy, you can learn those lyrics by Hans, and Brittany’s background vocals. The guitar solo sustaining into and out of the key changes are great. I listened to that part over and over again.
Well done Muffins.
Safer At Home
featuring Abby Eddy on cello
A short but poignant placement, this track acknowledges how well the cello works again here. A cool, haunting sound in the harmony.
“Goodbye, Mr. Salad…”. What a cool lyric…
Quite the fun song!
Whether the title character Buffalo is real or lyrical, she’s endearing from the onset. My favorite lyrics on FFTT are found in this track - just behind the slightly more full: No Idea (All For Nothing)
The lyrical work showing here brightly and boldly. It’s not the just the lyrics, but the way they’re injected into the arrangement. That’s the Muffin signature. That’s what they do, and have always done well.
“...we’re goin’ to Graceland in December…” - love the landing there, crisp and well thought out. 2nd only to: “...everybody down, this monkey could get ugly…”. Hans has a fun lyrical trick he uses often here. Pay close attention to the way the lyrics curl the lines.
Who is this chick? I think I want to meet her.
If Frank Muffin had ended the track here, I would have felt musically pleased. And depending on which media you picked up, you may have ended there along with them.
Immediate musical hook!!! Too often, bands keep the music simple then let the lyric hook you; not here. FM hooks me in the first few seconds on this one.
The band is extra tight here. Well written and well-delivered; if they were auditioning, and had never written anything else, I would know what kind of band they were with this track alone. Especially love the bass effort in this track. So fun to follow Brittany through the tune.
And speaking of summer time and tv themes, this one fits it all. “...I like crunchy, peanut butter…”
Indeed. And they give you yet another hook in the end tag. If you “...wonder what it is…”, check this track out. It’s not too long, it’s not too short. Perfect snacking song between tracks 6 and 8, Diabolic is a fun listen.
It even ends like a well-played radio tune.
The intro that tells a story of life's turns and what could have been, makes this a well-chosen track to start the race. Slow build, with an acoustic feel although rhythm is clearly present. It gives a nibble of what’s to come.
A quick mixing nod here, for seamless transition throughout this sampling of the sound you can expect from the rest of the album. There’s a spot near1:45where Rees shows his songwriting prowess early on.
It’s been three summers now since I first heard the Frank Muffin band play. Appropriate, as their music is extra enjoyable to me during this time of year - always giving me that festival feel. Frank Muffin has played at nearly every venue in Lafayette, and surrounding.
But no matter where you happen to be when you listen, I’m sure you will appreciate the harmony and lyrical content contained within:
Frank Muffin’s debut album.
Having now completed around thirty full listens (in one form or another) of this 2018 album, I’ve decided to subtitle this narrative “The Frank Muffin Harmonic Listening Experience”.
It’s a well done compilation of tune, hook and lyrical style that shows how much this band puts into their craft. But hey Rick, so have many bands. Sure, I hear ya. But what sets FM apart from this common perspective is that they dig more deeply than just the aesthetics. Several arrangements on Forest For The Trees showcase not only a solid foundation of music knowledge; but a collective emotion as well.
In short, the Muffins write really good songs.
The album jumps in right away with a feel-good and relatable sound. So relatable in fact, that every track on this album could be a memorable theme song to any feel-good tv show. And not only that...
...PSA (and super bad Dad joke): Shake the tackle box up and stick your hand in, what do you find?
Please enjoy our latest review...
Forest For The Trees - Frank Muffin
Original Rock/Folk Rock - 2018
This track and the last, good samples of the Muffin catalogue. The first time you listen, you know whatever’s next will be pleasantly comforting. The smooth vocal dips near each change adds to its uniqueness. There's an openness to this track. It's sober and sincere. No dramatic pretense.
Lyrically, I picture the band in round table, deep discussion...lyrics that have breadth and depth; but still somehow fit everyone's story when the listener is prompted near 2:00 to ponder the during the guitar solo!
I remember the first time I heard this performed, I thought it sounded like a deep cut already. I hadn’t heard the live prior to then. Hemersbach scores in this track with a somewhat haunting background vocal. Strengthened in harmony shortly thereafter courtesy of Rees x2.
He must have been wearing the hat...
Two spots in this track to checkout: near 2:56 and 3:44; vocals are raised and sustained, and a stair-step line - respectively.
Good songwriting, good structure.
Forest For the Trees - Album namesake
The mystical sound that opens this one made It fun to imagine the Muffins 4, encircled with beads and smudge sticks; but it’s the chorus in this one that makes the track. Hans hammers it out. A bonus track on the album if I’m not mistaken, it is a fun ending. It gives the listener a “this is how FM would sound if they were a slightly different band” vibe. I like these kinds of departures; even more so as a hidden surprise. Add some groovy guitar tracking and you’ve got a gem.
This track created atmosphere for closure. They could have been singing about toast and jam and it still would have sounded cool. The depth is cool as well. Gives the listener one last private moment to breath before the solo takes them in.
Another nod to the mixing here. Well done silent heroes, well done.
Swallow You Whole
There's a unique writing style in songs like this one, that can be immediately be identified from the Frank Muffin Fingerprint. There’s a basic premise set with elegant but simple lyrics, insert the big sound that this band brings, add harmony and unique changes and you have a memorable song.
I am admittedly most fond of this mood-setting track; especially as it enhances the full album listening experience. It re-centers the tone, gently pulls us in with comforting, hugging hooks. The harmony is loving and real. It’s a go-to for the band’s emotional checkpoint. I’m theorizing, but not likely far off I imagine, that Rees planned it as such.
Best “feels” hook (on the whole album actually) is in the tag in this track, “...it feels like rain again, she said…”
This one and the next compete for my favorite song of the album.
Fun track about how we perceive ourselves and others. (listener’s perspective)
Take note of several well-written stops in this song. It’s fun to think of it as songwriting for the express purpose of being able to jam one out on the stage. And this one is a jammer. Matches easily to the groove without pressure from the rest of the tracks on the album.
Great riffs in this one as well. And poor Donny...he’s still got it...got it...got it - 😃
Forest For The Trees - It has depth...everything an easy to listen-to album needs. It’s construction is labored and vetted; it beckons repeat listens. Its versatile arrangement, and deliberately scarce but timely guitar jams, make it choice for the uninterrupted listening experience.
Still masters of the technical, Frank Muffin find themselves well-grounded musically. And still one of the best social media presences around.
Slow down… and listen to some music... peace.
Frank Muffin is:
lead guitar and vocals
lead guitar and vocals
bass and vocals
TBD - drums
(Emily Larimer drummer at time of album recording)
Music review and promotion in central Indiana and surrounding areas since 2013
Special credit thanks in CD insert to:
Abby Eddy for the cello on Alone and Safer At Home
Greg Simpson for adding auxiliary percussion on track 7-12
Album photography by Eliza Rees
Band photography by Jimmy Ramos
(link not shortened deliberately)
Further light reading. Hey, you’re welcome - ;)
Album trivia: The cover photo for FFTT was taken taken at the abandoned Mudlavia Hotel in Attica!
Photo Credit: Eliza Rees