Preview: Donavon Frankenreiter, Shepherds Bush Empire, London

Surfing songs of peace and freedom
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The Independent Culture

The American surf-rocker Donavon Frankenreiter, 35, had always wanted to capture his love of the ocean and the surf in his music – but without it sounding too naff. Now he feels he has managed to merge its essence on his new album Pass It Around in songs such as "Mansions on the Sand", a collaboration with the singer-songwriter Grant-Lee Phillips, of Grant Lee Buffalo fame.

This is just one of nine mellow pop songs on Frankenreiter's third album, which includes the laid-back "Too Much Water", "Life, Love and Laughter" and "Someone's Something".

"The lyrics Grant-Lee Phillips wrote for 'Mansions on the Sand' really gets across what I feel when I'm surfing – and he doesn't even surf!" says Frankenreiter. "It's a peacefulness and a freedom. I feel open and connected."

The Laguna Beach, California-based Frankenreiter formed the band Sunchild in 1996, before pursuing a solo career in 2001. His 2004 self-titled debut album was followed by his self-produced Lost Highway debut, Move By Yourself, in 2006. His song "Lovely Day" with Koool G Murder featured in the 2006 comedy horror film Snakes on a Plane.

While Frankenreiter's primary aim is to spread good vibes through surf-rock, he has collaborated with a range of artists on the new album. It was produced by Joe Chiccarelli, who has previously worked with The White Stripes and Frank Zappa.

"Surfing is my first love," says Frankenreiter. "I made a living at it starting when I was 16, and it took me all around the world. But it's different to doing music.

"If I call up a buddy to surf, there can be a moment of clarity, but if I get a wave that's really incredible and try and convey that feeling to someone else, they may not be able to relate. But my wife – or anyone – can see me on stage playing and really feel what I'm feeling. It's magical, there's so much togetherness."

18 November (; his album 'Pass It Around' is out now on Wrasse