Frances Quinlan (Hop Along) – ‘Likewise’ album review

Frances Quinlan solo Hop Along album review Saddle Creek

Featuring a self-portrait as its cover, ‘Likewise’ is the debut solo record from Hop Along’s Frances Quinlan and although it has plenty that will appeal to fans of her day job, it also finds her experiementing with more expansive instrumentation and instruments including harps, synths, strings and electronic beats.

‘Piltdown Man’ opens the record with a burst of ambient sounds including children giggling and what sounds like a squeeky gym floor before Frances starts singing about a friend’s dad over stop-start Tori Amos-style piano. This is followed by recent single ‘Your Reply’, an honest account of how sometimes you can profess your love for someone only to be met with silence and contemplation. ‘Rare Thing’ has poppier vibes with synths that sit happily alongside Tegan & Sara and Maggie Rogers as Frances sings about dreams becoming nightmares and ‘making giants out of strangers’.

‘Detroit Lake’ is altogether more glacial and experimental as Frances sums up different personal situations: ‘You were mid-sentence when I had to interrupt you in order to relate” Across the table words fly, under them they rarely collide’. ‘A Secret’ follows with this sparser aesthetic that brings to mind Laura Marling. There’s an element of seething as Frances asks ‘How do you want me to look?’ and then asks ‘Visit when you can’. ‘Lean”s intro has stirring strings and a loving message of ‘I need us more than ever’, while the closing cover of Built to Spill’s ‘Carry the Zero’ is another fractured piece with synthesised vocals, harmonies and effects-laden guitars: ‘I can’t be your apologist very long. I’m surprised you want to carry that on’.

‘Likewise’ is the sound of an exceptional artist embracing the creative freedom a solo record can bring with brilliant results.

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