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Slow down as you approach the gate, and have your change ready....
What else should I have expected but a Beatles rip-off, with an album title like Meet the Frantics? Although the first song opens with a guitar riff that sounds suspiciously like "Sunday Bloody Sunday" by U2, The Frantics retreat quickly into familiar territory already mapped by the Fab Four and then by Oasis in the mid-90s. There's a little bit more of a punk edge to this album than either of those bands ever had, though--perhaps a better comparison would be Sublime Records' Kosmos Express.
Michial Farmer 3/15/2000
Fast-paced, short songs; raving musicianship; intoxicating hooks; exhilirating freshness. All these things are suggested by the name of Organic Record's latest addition. The Frantics? . Their debut, entitled Meet the Frantics, presents a junction of classic pop, rock and surf music, with a retro sensibility, and a coating of commercialism--a frantic combination.
For a band with such a seemingly developed style, the Frantics have been together for a surprisingly short time. About a year ago, Chris Shandrow (lead vocals, guitar), Derek Sorrells (drums, percussion), Matthew Martin (bass) and John Gilbert (lead guitar, bgv's) joined forces, after having played in other bands (including Miss Angie's backing band). It is also notable that all the members grew up listening to Christian music. Influences listed include Plankeye, Bride, the 77s, and Stryper.
With the band members accustomed to Christian music, you might expect an album full of cliche phrases. This is not, however, the case. The lyrics cover the standard CCM themes: God's goodness through everything; finding true hope in life through Christ; the trust we can have in God to help us. However, a fresh spin is placed on the delivery of these topics, giving the listener all the more reason to pay attention to what the Frantics are saying.
Take for example "Kids of Summer," where primary lyricist Chris Shandrow easily relates to the listener with the first verse:
Jamie Rowe, former lead singer of Guardian, lends a helping hand to the project. "Let It Go" from his solo project (The Beautiful E.P.) makes an appearance on Meet the Frantics, in a version much better than the original.
Meet the Frantics is not without flaws. The commercialism of their music breaks through on over half the tracks, and brings down several songs with a rather predictable flow. "Not With A Bang," for one, starts nice, with a fairly simple guitar lick, but turns into a fairly boring chorus. However, when the Frantics get around to making the rockers, they turn out beautifully.
If you're looking for fresh, retro-flavored rock/pop, buy Welcome to the Future by Believable Picnic. If you¹ve got that one, try The Frantics.
Eric Daams 06/13/2000