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Ad Frank - Mr Fancypants

  by John Clarkson

published: 17 / 12 / 2001



Ad Frank - Mr Fancypants
Label: Stop Pop and Roll
Format: CD

intro

One of the unsung heroes of rock, Ad Frank has often seemed on the verge of breaking through into the mainstream, but has never quite got the lucky breaks his talent deserves to do so. The former fron


One of the unsung heroes of rock, Ad Frank has often seemed on the verge of breaking through into the mainstream, but has never quite got the lucky breaks his talent deserves to do so. The former front man with the Boston new wave acts Miles Dethmuffin and Permafrost, both of whom garnered some respectable international reviews and press a few years ago , Frank decided to go it on his own in 1998, after the latter band's only album 'In Harm's Way' was badly promoted by its record company. Now, resigned to releasing albums on a mini scale, he is back with his second solo CD, 'Mr Fancypants', which is both his most focused work to date and also the first release of the small, but exciting new "dark pop" label, Stop Pop and Roll. Like its predecessor, the slightly less sharpened but also impressive 1999 album 'Ad Frank', 'Mr Fancypants' combines new wave and eighties-style synthesiser sounds with tales of heartbreak, suicide and love that has gone violently astray. In an unusual twist on this theme, Frank has, however. balanced this with a self-mocking, tongue-in-cheek theatricalism and a sense of the ridiculous. Far from being downbeat or distressing, 'Mr Fancypants', therefore, comes across as oddly uplifting, even on its coldest and most overwrought tracks For some of the songs, Frank told his drummer, John Bean, to pace himself down and to create a sense of atmosphere by playing his drums in a clinical and a metallic manner. The album's opening track,'Last Night Mark Eitzel Saved My Life', manages, therefore, to be both menacing and funny. It finds Frank against the background of a humming synthesiser browbeating himself that "Nobody suffers like I do" but it is done with just enough of a sense of parody and pastiche to be farcical as well as frightening. 'Barking Up the Wrong Girl', which has a mournful, semi-orchestral string arrangement upon which Frank's friend Wendy Mittelstadt plays all the instruments , also put an emphasis on human ridiculousness when a frustrated and baffled Frank discovers, much to his horror, that his new girlfriend is buying the records he already owns in emulation of him. Other tracks have a more upbeat sound. 'Bay of Fundy', despite rattling percussion, tinkling acoustics and strident guitar work, is a suicide song, and has its protagonist, dumped by his girlfriend, in a final act of absurd bravado and vanity , deciding to drown himself at a fishing beauty spot on the border of the United States and Canada, as one of his grandfathers comes from Maine, and the other is Canadian. The album is brought to an abrupt, breakneck finish with a gutteral and heavily synthesised reworking of the Paul K and the Weathermen "garage folk" number, 'Leave Me in Tears'. 'Mr Fancypants' both wallows in and celebrates self pity, and manages in the process to be both comical and also brashly inventive. Perhaps too offbeat and surreal for all tastes, it is an album of strong and intriguing ideas that both puts a new take on old themes, and which plays around with established patterns and formulas. Frank has created with 'Mr Fancypants' an album that is both instantly likeable and highly entertaining, while Stop Pop and Roll has got off to a very impressive start.



Track Listing:-
1 Last Night Mark Eitzel Saved My Life
2 U Hauls and Ryders
3 Davy, I Didn't Mean To Push You Off
4 The Ticket Was Non Refundable
5 Bay Of Fundy
6 Conjugal Visit
7 I Can I Will
8 Barking Up The Wrong Girl
9 I Have Seen The Moment Of My Greatest Flicker
10 The Map To Your Good Graces
11 Leave Me In Tears



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interviews


Interview (2002)
Ad Frank - Interview
Ad Frank's second solo album, 'Mr Fancypants', is the flagship first release of the new Boston independent label, Stop Pop and Roll. Stop Pop and Roll offers what it describes as "dark music to bright


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