Frankel – Chatterbox EP

Chatterbox EP

While listening to the songs on this album, you can’t help but think they sound a bit familiar. From such influences as great legends like Nick Drake to more recent artists like The Shins, Frankel’s music is both enjoyably new and yet timeless all at once. Immediately striking with little more than a guitar and his own voice, Frankel enters the scene with a simple but solid formula in “Pass Out”. His soft harmonies float over the repetitive guitar with intelligently silly lyrics like “It’s only gotten worse since you got a purse/ And now you carry baggage.” His vocals take on a breathier feel in “Don’t Leave” that features a more lighthearted beat and could easily be difficult to pinpoint what decade it was written in.

Many artists try to imitate some of the great bands of both the past and present; however, unlike many artists that just blatantly copy those before them, Frankel has elegantly blended that which he has learned from artists like Elliot Smith with his own unique style. But what is even more interesting is that Frankel, aka Michael Orendy, claims to have never learned to read sheet music, which has lead to a unique way of creating his music. Starting as a young child, he began learning whatever he could get his hands on and taught himself to play by ear. From there he made his way through a few bands, each with a different style and shared the stage with some well-known indie rock groups. After just my first listen with this all-too-short album, I can say without question that Frankel has found his niche.

While it’s difficult to pick a favorite when each song is great in its own right, I would have to say that “The Great Unkown” does stick out a bit from the six pack. The overall mood and depth in this penultimate track gives a nod towards the guitar stylings and layer mastery of the great Led Zeppelin. Having recently gone on a binge where I went on a road trip and listened to every one of their albums starting with disc one, I couldn’t help but immediately feel that connection. Yet in the very same collection of songs, Frankel shows us that he excels in mellower and more simplistic tunes as well.

With songs that could easily sound good live as a solo acoustic set or with a full backing band, I can only imagine that Frankel has nothing but good things ahead. Should he decide to tour my little corner of the country I would definitely be first in line to see the show. While this may be his first album to hit shelves, you may want to take note of his name because you will likely be hearing of him again in the future.