The Frail – Count On This EP

The Frail
Count On This EP

With more than just a nod to The Postal Service, The Frail aspire to blend synth-based electronic dance music with bubbly, commercial-leaning electro-pop. The four tracks on the Count On This EP accomplish this with varying degrees of success, peaking with some highlights that fall just short of their target.

The San Francisco based duo of Daniel Lannon and Kevin Durr produce all of their Postal Service-influenced sounds, including jittery disco beats, swirling synth washes and playful electronic gurgles, with only keyboards and samples. But The Postal Service comparisons don’t stop with the music. While vocalist Lannon sounds similar to Ben Gibbard (The Postal Service, Death Cab for Cutie), he delivers a sub-par mimicking of Gibbard’s dynamic inflections and instead accents his voice using a vocoder. And with mundane lyrics in place of Gibbard’s bittersweet introspections, these tracks lack punch and seem like a calculated stab at riding the coattails of a more successful band.

Even still, opener “Count On This” and closer “Floated Away”, while sounding the most like The Postal Service, happen to be the best tracks on the disc. They are upbeat, peppy and charmingly entertaining. But the two middle tracks are only tolerably pleasant. The bland, cookie-cutter electro-pop of “Addicted” and “Who Am I?” include no surprises, nothing edgy and therefore nothing memorable.

The Frail are obviously inspired by some decent bands and are capable musicians, but they seem to lack the ability to channel these influences into something stylistically similar yet uniquely fresh. The outcome is an EP of playful electro-pop tunes that provide a pleasant enough listening experience but will probably drop off your playlist rather quickly.