Friday, February 10, 2023

Frank Rabeyrolles Releases Seventh Album ‘Boat Songs’

Calm and collected, stripped back and something to listen to, Frank Rabeyrolles is back with the latest full-length album, ‘Boat Songs’.

French singer/songwriter Frank Rabeyrolles is known for his discreet and unclassifiable character and music. Bursting onto the scene in 2004 with ‘Life Behind The Window,’ his first album and instantly established himself as a master of dreamy and hybrid music.

His way of creating over the years, and decades now, could be seen as an aspiration to an artistic ritual driven by passion but also as an existential necessity.

‘Boats Songs’ starts with the ‘Merry Go Round.’ It opens with a four-chord melody and simple guitar strumming that creates a dream-like ambience, something that is consistent throughout the album. The track tells the story of reminiscing, memories of the past and bittersweet feelings shown through the lyrics “Remember the old times, the Garden where we used to play.” These tender lyrics are perfectly complemented by Rabeyrolles’ gentle vocals, with stylings familiar with that of The Beatles‘Yesterday.’  

‘Raining Sand’ has a certain staying power about it and speaks universally to listeners. About isolation and dealing with those emotions, showing subtle hints of Elton John’s ‘Rocket Man,’ Rabeyrolles evokes strong feelings through the lyrics “How I feel down when I stay at home in the dark” His use of lyricism is incredible, setting a melancholic tone but with light and simple instrumentals creating a juxtaposition toying with the emotions of listeners. 

This complex juxtaposition is replicated in ‘Fear of Happiness.’ Another track that resonates deeply with its audiences and is likely to be the most emotional, and thought-provoking on the album. An excellent example of Rabeyrolles’ use of lo-fi, though consistent throughout the album, its simplicity and unpolished edge, it is this that makes it more endearing.

‘I Wish’ takes a different approach, with a psychedelic edge. At the forefront is a surreal, yet whimsical guitar and distinct percussion, it is this instrumental that creates a dreamlike state and hypnotises listeners, catching them off guard with this shift in genre. 

‘Post Of Post’ is slower in energy, calm and collective, consisting of mostly instrumentals, a booming drum and stunning guitars. Frank Rabeyrolles shows off his gentle vocals once again by being in perfect harmony with the rest of the ensemble. Whereas tracks such as  ‘Surfing To Nowhere,’ ‘Even Space,’ and ‘Question Of Time’  take the album in a different direction with more upbeat instrumentals and throw in indie and folk into the overall album. 

‘Boat Songs’ is simple, yet complicated. Happy, yet sombre. Frank Rabbeyrolles is a master of the genre, blurring the lines between folk, indie, psychedelic and pop per track and keeping listeners guessing as to where he will go next. Mastering lo-fi there is a strong element of DIY throughout ‘Boat Songs’ but it is just this element that makes it more charming and addictive to listen to.

Ana Joy King


Image: ‘Boat Songs’ Official Album Cover

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