Monday, 3 August 2009

Review: Frankmusik - Complete Me

Catchy electro pop, complete with a tonne of 8bit computer game-esque stutters and sounds? Great! Frankmusik's previously released singles have all carried this brilliant little charm, all three of which are found on this album. The singles in question being the loop-driven "In Step", the hook-filled "3 Little Words", and of course, recent hit single "Better Off As 2", and they are all brilliant, brilliant upbeat dance pop songs. Fact.
Unfortunately, something slightly sinister seems to have happened at Island Records, as current single "Confusion Girl" has gone from being a brilliant 8-bit-drum-laden pop song, to a bit more of a laid back daytime tv pop song. Possibly almost ballady. Bad times. All in the space of time between the album sampler and album proper being released. (About two months).
This sinister plot to make Frankmusik more like Frankmusak (wit) can also be found with two tracks found nestled in the middle of the album. Namely "Wonder Woman", which sounds like it should be a Mika b-side, and the title track "Complete Me", which is a truly upspectacular ballad. The annoying thing about this "watering-down" of Frankmusik is that his "glitchier" tracks are good enough to get on the radio anyway and has seen him appeal to a fairly wide audience already. Obviously, by removing these 8bit-drums and putting a few more lacklustre ballads on an album, Island are probably hoping to appeal to a lot more people. Good luck to them with that.
It's not all bad though, tracks such as "When You're Around", a glitchy gameboy-esque take on The Stranglers' Golden Brown, and "Gotta Boyfriend" are brilliant examples of what FM does best - upbeat electro pop tracks.
That's not to say that Frankmusik can't do good ballads - "Done Done" is a great album closer, with it's slow tempo stuttering over the chorus proving to be a euphoric way to finish. If only the rest of the downtempo tracks offered this emotional depth, this album would be greatly improved.
Overall, it's by no means a bad debut album, the singles are worth getting this for alone, and even the watered down version of Confusion Girl is still a good pop song, even with it being needlessly watered down. The slower songs are very hit and miss though, and you get the feeling that Frankmusik - already a fairly established remix artist as well - should stick to writing the upbeat electro dance pop that he is so good at.
Rating: B-
(Sidenote: Ok, so far, Little Boots, La Roux, Frankmusik. All electro-pop acts, all of which have been tipped highly by the BBC this year, but none of which have produced a truly amazing album this year. Can anyone recommend a brilliant electropop album this year? Use the terms "electro" and "pop" as loosely as possible, I just want to see if it's possible for there to be an album of such music without half of it being rubbish ballads/unoriginal songs. Something exciting!)