In the piercing cold of winter, waiting impatiently for spring to come, the Frisky Kids can give you something to warm up. Their first EP album "The Beach," is an altogether feel-good album that defies Montreal's bitter winters.
"We called out EP 'The Beach' because it's the name of our dingy jam space, we named it that because it was the middle of winter and wanted a warm sounding place to go" The band responds when I inquire about their album title.
If the Beach is where this album was created, that is definitely what it sounds like. The upbeat tempo of their music and enthusiastic, go-along-with-it stage presence makes them a group that is pleasing to watch and even more enjoyable to listen to. Playing music with a nostalgia for warmer days, the Frisky Kids are a Montreal based garage-rock band that should not be ignored.
The trio of frisky kids, Calum Dowbiggin Glew (vocals, guitar), Matisse Gill (vocals, bass) and Matt Grant (vocals, drums, keyboard), grew up off the island in Hudson, Qc, and then moved to a Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue basement where they developed their sound and received many noise complaints. Gill explains in our interview that:
"Most of our inspiration comes from things that we've experienced as kids growing up off the island in Hudson"
They are the modest, fun-loving 'boys next door' and their lyrics, music, and attitude reflect that. The Frisky Kids originally suited up in dress shirts and the occasional tie which creates a paradox between their 'frisky' kid nature, and their grownup clothes. However, Gill states to me in our interview that they create the visual style of the 60s to match the influence of the 60s on their music.
"We eschewed white shirts and black ties being worn all the time because we really dig the mod look from the sixties. We still tend to dress semi-formally on stage. It has always helped us stand out as a group"
"The Beach" was released almost a year ago and the band is back in the studio to work on their newest tunes. However, just because the Frisky Kids will be coming out with more music, doesn't mean that this first album should be passed up. The catchy songs and upbeat tempo from their first EP "The Beach," show the influence of an interesting combination of the Beatles, The White Stripes, and The Black Lips. In addition it shows the influence of the instrumental sound of the early Black Keys.
Their favorite bands have a large influence on their music and how they perform, Gill explains that:
"We love energy and live music, which is probably why we gravitate towards garage rock music. Our favorite bands are the ones who put on a wicked show. Our sound tries to reflect our live performances as much as they can."
After listening to the first song on the album, "Echanté," I was mesmerized by the vocals. They sound like Jack White from the White Stripes minus the drawn out nasal whine that sometimes occurs in the White Stripes' vocals.
The distinct vocals combined with a fast-picked guitar, strong bass of Matisse Gill, and an interesting combination of drums and keyboard, melds together to create a distinct, catchy fusion of - need I say - frisky tunes.
Echanté - Won't You Come Around
The first song on their EP plays around with tempo and rhythm. It starts off by catching your attention with a beachy sounding hook, but then slows the song down with a guitar intro. The tempo soon changes to a fast paced groovy beat. What is really great is the bass. The bass is not hidden in the background of the guitar, it actually harmonizes with the guitar and keeps with the fast tempo of the song.
The best part of this song is the chorus and the lyrics. The tempo slows down for the chorus and the drums, guitar, and bass, work together to keep a strong constant beat. It has a good rock-your-head-back-and-forth rhythm. It feels as if you walk up four stairs and then come back down again. "Echanté." Then bye, bye rocking-horse chorus, hello fast picked guitar. The rhythm and tempo of this song is constantly changing, ensuring that the listener never gets bored.
The lyrics in this song are especially interesting and relatable. In an interview Glew explains that the inspiration for that song came from a personal experience: "I think it's happened to most people. You're gunning for some girl and this guy swoops her away and you have no idea how he did it because he seems like a total dick to you." "Echanté" is the last words that said 'dick' says after he leaves the romantic prospect.
The catchy 60s rock and roll style beat of this song combined with a catchy chorus and inspired lyrics make this great song to begin their EP.
All The Girls
Similar to "Echanté," this song has a lot going on. The gritty guitar and the catchy chorus and lyrics, had me dancing around in my living room in no time.
"The song "All the Girls" is about night clubs and us kind of being disenfranchised with that whole scene," explains Gill.
The first lyrics sung in the song are: "All the girls with the songs stuck in their head," and the lyrics of this song will definitely get stuck in your head.
What is really great about this song is that it showcases each band-mates talents, from the vocals, guitar, bass, keyboard, and drums. The solid drum beat of this song really drives it to musical success. In addition, the vocals are fun. The old-school sound and drawn out wooo's keep the song upbeat and fun. In this song, the vocals digress from Jack White's voice and turn into something of its own: garage-rock with a 60s Beatles twang.
The absolute best part of this song is the keyboard. The keyboard persists throughout the song but it is really showcased at the end. It is like an 80s church-Sunday school rebellion. The keyboard shows the influence of bands like the Doors and the Who; but what it really shows is the Frisky Kids' versatility and knowledge of rock styles so that they can switch up the garage-rock style with little tastes music through of time.
"Robbing You" is the type of garage-rock song that would definitely have the neighbours coming by with noise complaints. The gritty guitar, heavy base, and loud percussion make a rock song that would make people head-bang their craniums enthusiastically but not to the point where they would break out into a violent mosh-pit. It is a crowd-surf-during-the-guitar solo type of song. It shows a harder, darker side of the Frisky Kids.
The lyrics depict a guy who is robbing/taking advantage of a girl at a party, but then he loses her. This type of scenario contrasts the Frisky Kids' name and manner. In an interview Glew states that: "It's kind of an ironic name, too, because we're not frisky. When we thought of 'frisky,' it meant 'really forthcoming with girls,' which our circle [of friends] knows we're not like that. It was a kind of joke." With this knowledge, I can have a little giggle while listening to the song and enjoying the cyclical beat of "Robbing You."
On My Own
If I were to choose my least favorite song on the album it would probably be this one. I would choose it, not because it is bad, it is still good, but because it is only constantly good. There is not much change in rhythm or tempo as seen in the other songs. There is a change, however, in the bridge. It is a smooth transition, and it goes into a slower darker tempo. It is not as upbeat as the other songs, which is understanding, since it is about being alone. That type of loneliness can really slow down the tempo of a 'frisky' kid. It's okay boys, I get you.
The consistency of this song still keeps it going as a solid working piece. It has a 60s The Rolling Stones feel which just makes you want to sway back and forth in peaceful grooviness. When the song breaks down at the bridge the listener does too and the sway gets sadder and more dramatic as the beat gets stronger.
The chorus, of course, is probably the best part of the song. The simplicity of it is what makes this chorus beautiful. The lyrics: "I'm on my own," combines the lead vocals along with an echo of the backup. The combination of Glew's distinct voice combined with the smooth echo of Gill's creates an old-school sound that is kind of dreamy.
"Rooftops" is the last song on the EP and it keeps up the 60s rock trend that the other songs had set a path for. It is very 60s Beatles rock-esq. Everything in this song is consistent to the style. Both the vocals and the instrumentals make smooth transitions from verse to chorus to bridge.
It does not have the upbeat tone of the first three songs, nor does it have the slow grooviness of "On My Own". It is more of a hopeful goodbye song despite what the lyrics are: "So if you want to reach me baby, I guess I'll give you my name, just scream on top of the rooftops darling, and I will reach you that day". The lyrics tell a poetic story that should definitely be considered and listened to carefully.
The best part of this song is the vocals and the guitar solo. It is probably the longest guitar solo on the whole album and it does well with the song and the circumstance. The vocals are all over the place, but remain awesome and really facilitate the movement and transitions of the whole song.
Overall, this is a great first EP by the Frisky Kids. They were really able to create sounds and lyrics that both work together to make upbeat and catchy tunes. I definitely recommend that others go listen to them, you can check them out on Bandcamp, Facebook, and various other social media. They are currently in the studio recording a new album which will be released May 14th, 2015. Half of the songs from the EP are being rerecorded and the other half will be brand new music!
"We're playing a show on the 14th of May at Divan Orange to launch the album. We'll also be going on tour in early July through Ontario to promote the album. We're also working with a couple of companies to have the songs played in various media."
The Frisky Kids have a promising future in music and have a busy 2015 ahead of them. Don't forget to drop in and see them on May 14th at Divan Orange. They like cats, bagels, and rock music so check them out!