by Ben Adsett
Frank Hamilton has turned a lot of journalistic heads in the past few years; his #OneSongaWeek project was a truly fascinating personal challenge. As the title suggests, he wrote and recorded one song a week over the space of a year. With Songs to Make Life Slightly Less Awkward, Frank crowdfunded his way to a second release and it sounds like it was money well spent.
From the off it is clear that this release follows on from its predecessor, developing the songwriting style as tracks flow together. As the opening bars of ‘A.O.T.C’ start the album off, there is a fragility to Hamilton’s vocal which hasn’t been heard since his early acoustic recordings. As the chorus kicks in, regular service is resumed and the trademark Frank Hamilton earworm gets planted. The whistle-like hook will become your background music for the foreseeable future.
This release flows effortlessly between songs, with every track contributing to ebb and flow, giving this release a real sense of purpose. Current single, ‘Love Drug’, is as infectious as anything Frank has released to date, and the guitar hook alone is enough to have you humming along.
Interestingly, the guitars are where you hear the biggest distance between old and new Frank Hamilton. At times it’s early indie throwback, with jangly, angular guitars creating a sharp contrast to the samples and electronic drumbeats. It’s in those moments where these songs really come into their own. Throw in elements of his previous influences and you’ve got something near to perfect indie pop.
There will be barbed comparison made with the likes of Ed Sheeran, Kate Nash, Lily Allen and other similarly ‘honest’ songwriters who, like Frank, write in a very recognisable style. However, as the title suggests, there are hidden depths of positivity to Frank’s songwriting, and that’s what makes it so clever. There are songs that tackle life, love, religion, political climates and everything in between, all written with unmistakable honesty.
Songs to Make Life Slightly Less Awkward is a polished and well produced album, full of warmth, both lyrically and musically. There’s not a trace of ‘difficult second album’ to be found. Every part of it is self-assured and well considered, with Frank Hamilton showing himself to be an impeccable songwriter.
Maybe this album is going to be the start of a meteoric rise for him, or maybe not. One thing is certain, however, album number three is going to be a beauty.
Songs to Make Life Slightly Less Awkward is out now.