Waterfowl

by Frankie valet

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about

The songs that we return to throughout our life are often, ironically, songs that we come to in a period of change: melodies that soundtrack love lost or direction found, lyrical fragments that invite us to process, a vitality that pushes us with confidence into unfamiliar territory. Frankie valet write those kinds of songs. Out 2/7 via It Takes Time Records, their new record Waterfowl is a collection that brims with eagerness and invention, that confronts both the clamour of youthful confusion and the stillness of nostalgia—in other words, it’s the sound of four friends growing together.

Frankie valet is Jack Elliott-Higgins on guitar and vocals, Felix Nelson on guitar and vocals, Gram Tolish on drums, and Alison Setili on bass and vocals. After a period of rotating through members, the lineup coalesced around the time the band recorded 2018’s Stop Apologizing, a charming and often understated document of a young band in transition.

Waterfowl, on the other hand, is something else entirely—an ambitious showpiece for a band simultaneously hitting their stride and exploring their range. Contemplative slowcore, MBV-indebted fuzz, post-punk propulsion, and good old-fashioned guitar heroics find a home on this record, often in the same song. The compositions are as unafraid to explore the corners of a placid groove as they are to veer off unexpectedly; mid-album highlight “Soft Skin” perhaps best captures this perfect blend of patience and restlessness, and the effect is something like Yo La Tengo with unmedicated ADHD.

The record is also a fitting companion to Frankie valet’s combustible live show, translating the band’s energy into a warm, lived-in mid-fi zone perfectly suited to songs that embrace dynamics in both decibel and feeling. These four perform with the urgency of a group that knows first hand the actualizing power of a basement show, and Waterfowl is smart to preserve that sense of purpose.

It’s a purpose born of their fertile, sometimes overlooked St. Louis scene, the accidental orbit of friendship and inspiration from which they emerged (Jack met Felix at a show in 2016 when Felix, only 19, asked Jack to buy him a beer). Likewise, the band’s process reflects the creative crossfire of any healthy scene—they write collaboratively, sharing lyrical duties among the vocalists and bringing musical ideas to practice in their infancy, for the group to flesh out together. The words and music reverberate with their communal origins.

“Everyone is speechless from afar,” goes the refrain to tone-setting album opener “Nakid.” As a negative formulation of Frankie valet’s power, it’s a perfect lyric: Waterfowl is a record that invites closeness as an antidote to voicelessness, that celebrates shared growth in all its thrills and embarrassments. And best of all, it’s just the first step. - Nathan Tucker

credits

released February 7, 2020

all songs written by frankie valet
produced by frankie valet & peter flynn auer
engineered and mixed by peter flynn auer
mastered by andi jones at so big auditory

additional vocals on "our apartment" by katya malison
additional vocals on "alright okay" by haley graham & peter flynn auer

thank you jordan & mickey & everyone else
message for a download code

ITT23 // it takes time records 2020
frankievalet.bandcamp.com

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It Takes Time Records St. Louis, Missouri

jordan c weinstock! and Mickey Yacyshyn put out simple songs

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Track Name: Nakid
So many miles
They look the same
Shallow hills, they know no names
Didn’t seem like they had much to say

Out of all
That could’ve been said
Could have stayed, it could’ve been bad
Cows go quiet, and we go quiet

Everyone is speechless from afar
Track Name: Water foul
I should’ve thought about it
I shouldn’t go
You’re talking circles again
Lips movin slow
I hate forcing myself to know
You love pushing yourself to grow
I hate pushing myself to know
You love forcing yourself to grow

Drenched in red clay and floating golden
I used to know how to swim
Now my lungs are flat and useless
And my feet can’t touch the bottom
And you run and you scream and I don’t
And you jump and you scream and I don’t
Track Name: Engulfed
All the time
Should I stand up in a formal line
Do you need me in your current life
I don’t wanna know that

Try to wait
Try to fight the thoughts I formulate
Tell me if you’re here or if I’m too late
I don’t wanna know that

Not just yet
Tried my hardest but I can’t forget
Panicked hours on the internet
I don’t wanna go there

Even so
Doing everything to let it go
More engulfed than you could even know
I don’t wanna go there

I tried
Track Name: Theo
Never meant to let you down
Had to take a step back
You’re all still beautiful that’s not what this is about
We’re taking care of ourselves

Don’t get around much anymore
You live in a house that gets me down
We still call back and forth your voicemails tear me apart
Well give me hope for what’s to come

I’ll come back
I’m coming back
Track Name: Soft skin
Soft skin
I’m taking you in
Tell me how
You’re feeding my doubts
A mixing bowl
Still picking you out

Talking in a length of time
I’d think we’re the ones who decide
What I know I know I don’t know
I ask you to tell me so slow
Sleeping in a mind I let go

Soft skin
I’m taking you in
Tell me how
You’re feeding my doubts
A mixing bowl
Still picking you out
Track Name: Wilt
I move to the east and you move to the west
And I just wanted to see you at your best
I learned to move the way you wanted me to move
Because I can't get over you

When the sun is at its peak and I am wilting from the heat
From all the energy pointing at me

I learned to be what you could barely see
Because I wanted to be you and be free
I learned to love to move the way that you move
Because I can’t get over you

When the sun is past its peak and I am wilted from the heat
From all the energy pointed at me

I just wanted to know that you think of me too
Because I can’t get over you
Track Name: Our apartment
Do you miss your old apartment
Would you go back the way you left it
I feel bad about Ruby I feel bad about all summer

When you said I knew you meant it
I can’t go back on what I said then
I feel bad about Linden I feel rough about the ending

Was it all misunderstanding you know I couldn’t have planned it
Lengthy late night conversations, music videos for ages

But that never took me from you, I did everything that I thought I could do
Filled you in on all my feelings
Asked for help and didn’t take it

Was it really all that selfish
When time moves on and you don’t know what happened
Moving out to the Carolinas, future plans that felt so final

If I had to go about it, I’d change everything that surrounds it
If I told you that I missed you would taking me back be something you could do
Track Name: Try not to think
Up too late again drinking gin and tonics
You tell me we’re bad, we won’t talk about it
I don’t say much past sad, you don’t need to know what
I try not to think

Try to lose some weight, not trying too hard
Haven’t run in months, not smoking too much
Miss me when you’re gone, maybe send a postcard
I think I’m out of touch

I wish I knew just what to do with me
Track Name: You found me out
I will if you make me do it
I will if you push me through it
I will, I will

I’d still hate to be repulsive
I will hide my worst impulses
I will, I will
Track Name: Alright okay
Alright, okay

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