Album: Frankmusik, Complete Me, (Island)
To be completely Frank, it's digital pop at its very best
Sunday 12 July 2009
Funny, isn't it, how a shift in emphasis can completely alter meaning. Place it on the first word, and Vincent Frank's album title sounds like a plea, revealing the underlying neediness of the performer.
Put it on the second (and imagine a ghostly definite article at the start), and it reads like a cockily premature greatest-hits collection. If pop stars can be characterised psychologically by a combination of insecurity and egomania, then Frankmusik is destined to become one of the greats.
This oft-dazzling debut, which does indeed frequently feel like a best-of, kicks off with "In Step", the tale of a pretty boy scenester whose face is all over the fash mags at 19 but who, by 23, is still hanging around the same clubs and losing his edge to the younger kids. It's a significant memento mori to Frank, now 23 himself, and a telling insight into the determination not to be left on the shelf that motivates this electro pop upstart.
There's something thrilling about catching one of these autonomous auteurs while they're still so driven (though not yet in the chauffeured sense). Unlike so many players in his field, who settle for easy and disingenuous lo-fi, the skinny Croydonian – surely showbiz's most surprising heterosexual since Lionel Blair – reaches for grandeur. (He worships at the symphonic altar of ELO.)
Not that Complete Me lacks the human touch: several times, charmingly, the former beatboxer appears to do his vocal echoes ("sorry but did I never mention-tion...") himself without technical assistance. It is, however, an overwhelmingly mechanical animal: there's a waspish buzz about the shrill synths, and a cleanliness and discipline about the choppy staccato production that puts Frank alongside the very best digital pop of 2009 (Little Boots, La Roux).
He isn't above borrowing: "Time Will Tell" samples MARRS' "Pump Up the Volume" and "When Your Around" (whose title offends the grammatical sensibilities like no other since "Round Are Way" by Oasis) is essentially a handbag house reworking of The Stranglers' "Golden Brown". But Frank has, as the title suggests, given it his all. All he needs now is for you to make him complete.
Watch the new House of Cards series three trailerTV
Oscars 2015It was the first time Barney has compered the Academy Awards
Oscars 2015 From Meryl Streep whooping Patricia Arquette's equality speech to Chris Pine in tears
Oscars 2015 Mexican filmmaker uses speech to urge 'respect' for immigrants
TV ReviewThe intrigue deepens as we delve further but don't expect any answers just yet
Razzies 2015 Golden Raspberry Awards 'honours' Cameron Diaz and Kirk Cameron
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 This restaurant has misunderstood the concept of 'cheese and biscuits'
- 2 Delhi bus rapist blames dead victim for attack because 'girls are responsible for rape'
- 3 PornHub turns masturbation into energy in bid to save the planet
- 4 Have sex with your iPad thanks to the new sex toy no-one asked for
- 5 The 'sex selfie stick' lets you FaceTime the inside of a vagina
Broadchurch series 3: David Tennant and Olivia Colman to return for third season, ITV confirms
Poldark star Heida Reed says show is not that racy: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
Harris' List of Covent Garden Ladies: Georgian guide to London sex workers acquired by Wellcome Collection
House of Cards season 3: Claire Underwood is based on an eagle, says Robin Wright
Game of Thrones season 5 spoilers: What we can expect according to George RR Martin's books
New theory could prove how life began and disprove God
'Jihadi John': CAGE representative storms off Sky News accusing Kay Burley of Islamophobia
This is what it's like to be dead, according to a guy who died for a bit
Ukip would cut billions from Scottish budget to fund English tax cuts
Nearly 100,000 of Britain's poorest children go hungry after parents' benefits are cut
End of the licence fee: BBC to back radical overhaul of how it is funded