Frankenixon – Amorphous


Amorphous perhaps isn’t quite the right name for this, the second full-length album from Frankenixon. In its sound and lyrical content, the band is a one-trick pony. But the trick is played pretty well, so it’s hardly a fault. Angular, acid melodies from singer Evelyn Finch’s piano carry along these songs of breakups and bickerings, accented with Joe Kiplinger’s guitar, mostly in the form of slide or feedback solos.

Music school grads Finch and Kiplinger know what they’re doing, which makes Amorphous a compelling and highly listenable album. Lyrically, Finch is an embittered straight-shooter. Given the inventiveness of the music, I was hoping for a wicked, Nelly McKay sense of humor, but Finch remains pretty earnest. “Evanesce” is a response to a perceived insult: “I’m inwardly shocked / at the things you assume / about the reasons I play in this town.” The clunkiness of that lyric isn’t atypical, though throughout the album her singing style disguises this, employing an endlessly wavering rise and fall, from dizzying glissando down to low mutterings. Finch is a fearless singer: she has a gorgeous voice that she isn’t afraid to make ugly at the right moment, bending chaotically out of tune before snapping right back.

Her own precision is matched by her band’s, and this is probably Frankenixon’s greatest strength. Something still feels a little off, though, and it’s probably this contradiction: Frankenixon’s playing is more from the head than the heart (if you’ll excuse the oversimplification), and the lyrics are raw and emotional, if a bit artless. Somewhere in the middle is probably right where Frankenixon ought to be. But from the sounds of it, they could be headed that way already.