It’s only been a year since Frank & The Hurricanes released the languid charm of Life Is Spiritual into the air and they’re already back and not one ounce of palatable positivity has ebbed away. Frank exudes a burly ease and familiarity that barrels into the room but never takes up more space than is needed. Its welcome affable and oddly tender under the skin. Frank is hugging and joking before its jacket is off and while you’re offering it a beer he’s pulling one from his pocket and beating your hospitality before you even catch yourself. Coming from small town life myself, the skinned knees and feedback familiarity of The Hurricane’s tales feel like they ring particularly hard, but Frank delivers them with a denim-dragged country quality that gives the record a Meat Puppets / Giant Sand saunter to them and I’ll be damned if he doesn’t make it sound easy.
Spiritually the album is a companion piece to its predecessor, but musically it seems like the trio that’s coalesced on Love Ya Love Ya has blossomed in the interim, it is as tight as Frank’s vision has ever sounded. With Jake Merrick on bass, vocals, and keys and John Spiegel on drums, the trio cook out a Crazy Horse on SST vibe that stops just short of Always August (who most definitely did that first). It’s hard not to be drawn into Frank’s light. We all have a friend like that — at once disarming and rough-edged, yet uplifting. He takes that likability and pins it to a particularly potent rollick of Cosmic Americana, which only makes the smiles grow broader. Frank’s been building his sound for years now, and its undergone a lot of changes, to say the least, but this is the first true Hurricanes album and quite certainly Frank at his best.
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