San Francisco band, The Frail brought to a close the Sounds of San Francisco free concert series last Thursday. Presented by Dockers at the America’s Cup Pavilion, five other Bay Area bands including The Trims and Mister Loveless were featured in the series. The Frail kicked off this last concert with the poppy synth-track, “Count On This” from their debut EP.
It set the mood for an upbeat afternoon where lead singer Daniel Lannon’s falsetto-vocals carried through a string of toe-tapping synth-powered songs, from their debut EP “Count On This” to the follow-up “Lasers Over Lovers”. They also previewed two new songs from their upcoming third record, “LoveDeathLegend”.
They played earlier tunes first - “Addicted”, “Floated Away”, “Oh Shana”, “Heartbeat” and “The Night Is Young”. With modulating samplers and Lannon’s higher register vocals it was most reminiscent of The Postal Service. By the time they get to the second half of their set with their latest song, “You Just Wanna Leave”, you saw how a better subscribed gig would have meant a positively jumping mosh-pit.
The Frail have a much bigger sound than their studio records would lead you to believe, with Lannon’s nasally falsetto though high and breathy, not in the least bit faltering but carrying well across the pavilion in tandem with the bass and drums. Lannon’s presence on stage is sprightly and he was comfortable when it came to engaging an audience which wasn’t necessarily filled with their own fans.
The band begun as a duo in 2007 when Lannon and producer, Kevin Durr who does the keyboards and sampling, met on the internet bonding over a mutual love for music by tortured falsetto, Thom Yorke and under-rated Nebraska-indie-electro collective, The Faint.
Without ever meeting, Lannon and Durr were soon exchanging music, samples and original lyrics before drafting other members to form a band the following year. The line-up which is completed with Andrew Gomez on guitar and synth; Izzy Chavarin on bass; and Frank Lipari on drums worked as a tight unit on stage here making no false starts.
They all have day jobs but are committed to the band, setting time aside to record their last two albums. This fall, they will release their latest, “Love Death Legends”. And in November the band will go back into the studio again to work on their fourth record.
Though the band has not landed a major label yet, it has not stopped them from putting music out there. In an interview, Lannon explained: “We have talked to different labels in the past. It becomes a bit of a cat and mouse game. We decided to release the tracks on our own but we have a distribution deal with Sony. So we have major label awareness but without signing away any creative control.”
“We also wanted our music out there as fans kept asking us for new songs. Rather than wait for things to happen, we decided to be pro-active.” And that has worked well for them as “You Just Want To Leave” was premiered on MTV Buzzworthy while “Back To Me” has been picked up by Fuse. Both songs are The Frail's brand of chirpy electro-pop spiked with darker lyrics, at its infectious best.
“Back To Me” also features Lannon’s vocals pitched perfectly against that of Kylee Swenson from veteran Oakland band, Loquat. The layering and juxtapose of voices make for a richer texture on the track, giving a glimmer of which rabbit hole the band could go down for exciting results in the future. This scope and depth of sound that their new tracks bear, are no doubt from having producer, Patrick Brown of Different Fur Studios at the helm.
As a live act The Frail prove here as there have when opening for bands such as Neon Trees, Goldfrapp, Hot Chip and Moby that they are a force to be reckoned. With an ever-evolving sound of catchy hooks and samples that continues to improve with each record, The Frail will prove to be anything but that and should continue to grow in stature.
Back To Me
The Night is Young
Back To Me
You Just Wanna Leave