Album Review :
Frank Schweikhardt - Life But No More

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Artist: Frank Schweikhardt

Album: Life But No More

Label: Crossroads of America Records

Release Date: November 2009

Reviewer: Eric Pettersson

Tracklisting:

The Dead

Lisbon

Softer

Silver & Gold

Hidden

Two Cities

Disclaim

Claim

Level Lights

K and the Kids

Frank Schweikhardt’s lo-fi indie folk is like his native Midwest. His songs are full of wide-open musical spaces, the pace is slow and there is a lot of repetition. Yet this low register works to Frank’s advantage, gently ushering the listener into a place that seems calm and relaxed while it actively pensive.

Frank’s soft, deep voice slowly flutters over an acoustic guitar that is usually picked rather than strummed, sparse percussion, and maybe an ambient organ, horn or clean electric guitar, depending on the song. Songs don’t tend to take many turns, and Frank often repeats the same line five or ten times in row. This trick could get old and boring, but Frank pulls it off well, using it to focus on an idea and really get into your head.

Standout tracks include the thick and slightly dark “Hidden,” and the upbeat lounge track “Twin Cities.” These songs probably come to closest to what could be called indie rock, which bring up the energy a little bit in the middle of the record. The softer, slower tracks are great too, including the opening, “The Dead,” which focuses on the imagery of Communion and emphasizes the importance of the ritual, ending with the line, “We come to present ourselves. We are complete together now.” The song “Softer” says, “Give me life but no more. Give me color but no form.” These are the sort of open-ended lyrics that Frank uses throughout the record to get the listener thinking and to pull them into the music.

Overall: Frank Schweikhardt fits perfectly on the XRA roster, bringing a slow and minimalist acoustic sound that melds perfectly with his soft baritone. It’s like a stripped down Iron & Wine and a solo Husband&Wife mixed with a non-Cynical David Bazan.

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