Frances Quinlan’s powerful voice and songwriting shines on Likewise
Frances Quinlan has been making critically acclaimed indie rock with the band Hop Along for almost a decade. Now, on her first solo project Likewise, Quinlan creates a meandering and powerful testament to her writing and vocal chops.
While less bombastic than most of the Hop Along discography, Likewise gains power from its instrumental simplicity. On this record, Quinlan’s anti-folk inspired winding lyrics are nicely complimented by a mostly acoustic backing.
Due to the acoustic style of this album, Quinlan’s beloved howling singing style shines brighter than ever. In “Went to LA,” a song about searching for your identity in an unfamiliar place, Quinlan’s mystifying and narrative lyrics climax in her howling “Heaven is a second chance” over and over, her voice cracking with desperation. It’s both shockingly powerful and emotionally intimate.
Yet, while there are some stand-out tracks such as “Now That I’m Back” and “Your Reply,” which are incredibly catchy and complex, overall, this album is frontloaded and contains a few lackluster tracks. “Lean” and “Carry the Zero” don’t pull the emotional or artistic weight of the rest of the album, and never feel like they come to a rewarding conclusion.
That being said, Likewise is an incredibly gratifying listen for folk rock fans, and it shows that now as a solo artist, Quinlan does not disappoint.
Trial Track: “Now That I’m Back”