Album Review “Till the Dance Do Us Part”: Frankley Everlong
“What sounds would different emotions or the color purple make?” Tommy Carlsson, vocalist and guitarist of the Swedish disco-punk band Frankley Everlong, asked himself that very question for their latest album, released on January 18th by Eclipse Record. Chris Poland’s record label is well-known for taking bands like Mushroomhead to worldwide fame; ever since 1997, their publishing policy has stayed the same: better to work on a select few, good albums by passionate bands than to publish too many chasing profits and visibility.
In 2018, the label’s attention was caught by the trio from Kalmar, Sweden, and their second album, “Till The Dance Do Us Part”, celebrating their nine years of activity. After their debut album “Songs For the Broken” in 2014, the original bass player leaves to be replaced by Nicklas Petersson and then band tours throughout Europe in 2015. At this time, however, their sound isn’t defined yet.
It’ll take the metaphor of several different colors mixing into one to inspire the band’s new take on their sound.
“I love music… especially punk, disco, and heavy new wave synth,” said Tommy Carlsson. “We take different elements of these genres, mix it up a bit, and create something new. It cannot be three different types of genres standing side by side however, the result has to sound only like one genre.“
Discarding a trite formula used for years to write and play music, Frankley Everlong’s latest album is a hybrid of pure punk rhythm with dance beats for a very exhilarating result. While on paper the band strives to steer clear of imitation, some of their solutions echo previous tracks by Blink 182, Panic! At The Disco, Good Charlotte, and Sum 41. The overall result is a type of lively music that strikes a good balance between the revolutionary soul of punk and the upbeat fun of disco music, the kind we think is going to get a lot of attention across different generations of listeners.
“Till The Dance Do Us Part” presents nine tracks that immediately put a spell on the listener with songs that are pure and simple fun while at the same time clearly displaying the band’s technical skills. The namesake song embodies this by making the listener want to dance through the night as if in a dance club back in the ‘80s.
The next song, “As You Wither”, shares the same intent, but here the lighthearted beats are the background of a problematic theme conveyed through the lyrics, that of bullying and people who deliberately hurt others for personal gain. “Animatronic” sees keyboards and synthesizers join in on the fun, but refrains are Frankley Everlong’s trump card, catchy and impactful and made to be sung out loud.
What song other than “Endless Infinity” could then carry the flag here? The first track from the album, this “fast-paced punk anthem talking about the ending of an unhealthy relationship” recently reached 55.000 hits on Spotify and even had an official music video made for it. This upbeat momentum is temporarily stalled by “Broken Heart Surgery” with its gloomier vibe and predominant guitar, but “Pushed Around By You” and then “A Sense of Hell-Being” swing back to previous, fun-loving solutions.
The last two tracks have a more brooding and contemplative feel to them, a far-shot from the lively beats the band got us used to throughout the album. “I Vagabond” may as well be a ballad, but the real surprise we didn’t expect to find is the 7 minutes long “September”. Here the band’s trademark disco beats are woven together with a moving and dramatic melody; when it’s heard, the guitar reminds of the palm muting in thrash metal, but is certainly never center stage.
As a whole, the album is therefore enjoyable and high-spirited, the kind you listen to with your windshield down, singing along with a friend like in the movies.
With this album, Frankley Everlong shows that there’s still a place for punk music in 2019 and that old-school disco music can be a means to confront serious social issues. This is a peculiar combination nowadays, with dance music writers often creating shallow lyrics, whereas the Swedish band’s songs have an additional moral value on top of catchy tunes.
With “Till The Dance Do Us Part”, Frankley Everlong make a clear statement to the pop-punk worldwide scene: “From now on, this is the new standard by which all pop-punk-rock bands will be measured.”