We Will All Win

Frank Smith was recently in Studio 1A to perform music from their new album, Nineties. Of course, leave to your friendly neighborhood Austin Music Minute maven to recall an interview I did with front man Aaron Sinclair back in 2011, in which I inquired about the somewhat bleaker aspects of his songwriting. He’d admitted finding more inspiration “in darker places,” and had never been known for writing chipper, sunshine-y songs. But, at that particular time, he had hit a mental block; life was good, things were going well for Sinclair, and it was sort of hard to dig up demons when there were happy vibes all around.

I asked him if the same held true today:  Is it difficult to write dark songs if life isn’t all…dark? Sinclair grinned. “I did try to write a happy song.” Pause. “Once.”

This will not be a ramble about how moody or morbid Frank Smith sounds, even though the songwriting does tend to come from those darker places. But Nineties is further proof of Sinclair’s abilities as a great songwriter. The songs go in several directions while remaining Frank Smith, ambient and intense, and no shortage of potent guitars and addictive choruses. You still do get a sense of their folk-rock roots, more prominent on their earlier albums, but these days Frank Smith is decidedly harder-edged, more rock than Americana.

You’ll get to hear Frank Smith’s new music at their album release show tonight at Holy Mountain, 617 E. 7th St. This is a triple-bill treat with folk-pop rockers The Preservation, who are releasing two new tracks via digital download, and folk-rock outfit East Cameron Folkcore. Doors open at 9 p.m. Highly recommended.

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