TFN Album Review: I am sure the name Frances Quinlan may not stand out to you but she is the vocalist/guitarist of the excellent indie group Hop Along and Likewise is her debut solo record under her own name. With at least 15 years of recording on her resume and two really good Hop Along records, 2020 seems like the perfect time for Quinlan to release this album.
Right from the opening track, “Piltdown Man,” you hear the isolated confidence in Quinlan’s voice as she sings “Last night I dreamt your face, charged through the doorway as I pushed you panicking.” The graceful and controlled delivery found here elicits the same engagement that works on Hop Along albums but the difference on Likewise is that Quinlan’s voice is more of a focus with the support of some new directions.
Along with bandmate Joe Reinhart, Likewise has an overall lower key sound but also features synthesizers, harps, keyboards, strings and digital beats. This opens up the record and highlights some of the deeper themes found on the album like when she ends “Went To LA” without any instruments screaming – “Heaven is a second chance.”
Overall, Likewise is the perfect structure for a solo record. It offers another side of Frances Quinlan’s talent and also will pull in fans of Mitski, tUnE-yArDs and St. Vincent with ease. The album also ends with a deconstructed version of Built To Spill’s “Carry The Zero” and for me, it is Likewise’s indie exclamation mark as Quinlan turns the song into a very chill but bouncing track that just lets you drift off into the ending. This good feeling is exactly the state you stay in throughout Likewise and makes return visits to Quinlan’s world more enjoyable every time you hit play!
Frances Quinlan Review History: Hop Along: Painted Shut (2015)
Frances Quinlan Website
Frances Quinlan Facebook
Saddle Creek Records
– Reviewed by Thomas Wilde