Smudge is the debut album from Stockholm rock band, Fanatic Frank. Made up of Carl Hast on rhythm guitar and vocals, Rudolph Kraft Fermin on bass guitar, Jonathan Botvalde on lead guitar and Kéziah Ferreira on drums, Fanatic Frank formed in 2016.
The album was recorded by Svein Jensen of Grand recordings in Gothenburg, Sweden in just six days and stands to be a successful debut album from the Swedish rock band.
The album opens with State Your Claims. This has a great build-up which creates a sense of how much energy can be expected from the album.
State Your Claims has a really great guitar sound, offering a bright tone which contrasts Carl Hast’s raw gritty vocal tone.
The unrelenting drums power throughout the duration of the entire song and yet again brings up the energy of the track. All of this together makes for an electrifying experience and an intense opening to the album.
Next up is On my Own, the constant energy of the first track State Your Claims continues however the verse sections are more subdued. The bright guitar tone is also back which leads me to believe that this will be a crowd-pleaser once the band are able to play live again.
You can really appreciate the vocals on this song as the instrumentation is more stripped back in the verses.
A section of isolated instrumentation with the guitar at the front and centre is a nice transition into the second half of the song. This breaks up the constant in your face vocals and allows you to really appreciate the intricate instrumentation.
Moving onto Perfect Lies and I’m starting to think that Fanatic Frank are professionals when it comes to writing a brilliant song opening. Each introduction is completely engaging, so much so that you do not want to skip a single song.
There’s an undertone of anger to the lyrics and vocal tone and the song does not allow for a moment to breathe as the instruments are constantly firing at full power. Perfect Lies ends with a fade-out which is completely unexpected after the intensity of the track.
The shortest track of the album comes in the form of Lights. At this point it does not seem like the energy of this album will be taking a break at any point. If anything this song seems to get quicker as it goes along and you find that it is over before you realise.
You is the lead single from the album and is about Carl Hast’s life partner and how she makes him want to be a better person.
Rolling drums accompany the dynamic guitars that you are now more than familiar with. The vocals are a lot smoother than what we have heard so far, this works well with the meaning behind the song and shows a softer side to the band.
Packed full of noisy grunge guitars and constant pounding drums, Fanatic Frank have created a fresh take on a sentimental song.
The longest track on the album goes to Partners in crime which sits at just under six minutes. Instantly I am hit with major Biffy Clyro and Foo Fighters vibes and I can already tell that this will be my favourite track on the album.
This is the first more subdued track on the album and it is definitely a welcome break from the constant high energy. Carl’s vocals really shine on this slower track and the dynamics of the band are unreal.
Embers is another more laidback track. Gently plucked guitars accompany a slow drum beat which sits just behind the vocals. These seem to be more in the foreground of the track and its a nice change in style from the band.
There is an isolated moment of guitars followed by rolling drums which makes up an intense build-up of instrumentation. This comes to a complete rise with a crash of sound to bring up the energy on the slower track.
Embers, for me, is the most interesting track so far dynamically.
Closing the rollercoaster of energy that was Smudge is Odium. This brings back the vitality of the album and really feels and sounds like it is the end of the listening experience. This is probably mostly down to the repeated line ‘So Long and Goodbye’ however the way that the instruments are being played conveys the feeling of the album coming to its conclusion.
The song ends with an instrumental section which lasts for over one minute and slowly fades out to the conclusion of the album.
Smudge is an exciting debut album where each track flows seamlessly into the next. Although at times it is very high energy there are softer moments of sentimentality which really make this album great for me.
Check out Fanatic Frank on Spotify