FRANA‘s new album Disastersss sways between tricksy dissonances and unwavering directness finding its strength in deliberate genre shifts. The band’s style is doubtlessly inspired by holy monsters of noise/post-punk such as Hot Snakes, Unsane, Slint, Shellac, Hüsker Du, Unwound and Metz, but there’s a lot of identity in it. Vocals evoke the pioneers of D.C. styled post-hardcore. Talking about lyrics, Disastersss traces a self-medication path that dwells into the very human feeling of uncertainty, hiding meanings in goofy metaphors and majestically failing in its original healing intent. Wor(l)ds might get a little dark sometimes, but don’t have to be taken too seriously, as the track titles suggest.
“Disastersss” is out December 18th via Antena Krzyku (PL), Day Off Records (FRA), Santa Valvola Records, Taxi Driver Records and Sonatine Produzioni (ITA).
Frana was born in the discomfort of two Italian expats in the Heimat of Sauerkraut and Oktoberfest. It’s primarily an act of self-defense, powering a blend of captivating melodies and unpredictable slashing riffs in a fine balance of punk, noise, and post-hardcore. The band has been on a geographical rollercoaster until fully relocating in Italy during 2016. After their full- length debut Awkwardwards in 2018 and 50ish gigs sharing stage with Hot Snakes and Pile among others, the now Milan-based quartet has taken the route of self-medication.
Comments the band: “Frana came to light in 2012 from the discomfort of two Italian expats in Munich. It has been initially an act of self-defense against boredom, frustrating routines and dull social lives. Frana literally means “landslide”, but it’s also used in italian to make fun of a “hopeless person”. After a few years in Germany and a few rides on the geographical rollercoaster, after few line-up changes and few broken cars/bikes/shoulders, we have fully relocated to Italy in 2016, somewhat scattered in different cities at driving distance. In 2018, we released our first full-lenght with the deliberately impossible-to-pronounce title “Awkwardwards”. That was a moment for us to experiment and do something we were not able to do before, running in uncomfortable directions.”
“In our mid 30s, we carry our scars and sensitive spots. We pretend to be lost as we follow the same patterns once again. While running in circles we tell ourselves that we were lucky to have dodged much worse. Are we truly expendable vessels in favor of our ever more annoying selves?” – they continue. “Disastersss dwells into the very human feeling of uncertainty, hiding meanings in goofy metaphors and majestically failing in its original healing intent. But delivering a glimpse of togetherness, growing up as weird adults while still stitching our wounds. Each song conceals a hopeful lifeblood, if you are willing to see it.”
Disastersss has multiple meanings and multiple feelings, finding its strength in deliberate genre shifts. It sways between tricksy dissonances and unwavering directness with ingenious arrangements. bstyle sits neatly alongside the holy figures of Dischord’s finest, with their emblematic abrasive and tight sound, Luca’s vocals evoking the pioneers of D.C. styled post- hardcore. For fans of Drive Like Jehu, Hot Snakes, Slint, Shellac, Hüsker Du, Unwound, Quicksand, Metz, and anything in the same vein.
“Disastersss” is meant as an ironic self-medication act, things might get dark but nothing has to be taken too serious, there is no use in that.
1. “Let me write this down in my dontcarelendar” is an ode to our destructive-self and an attempt at clumsily disarming it, by questioning its own existence and necessity. It was the very first track written for the album, so it’s first on the record. This one has a punk post-hardcore attitude, with obsessive rhythmics and edgy melodies, it’s a solid opener.
Luca: It’s sounds like being woken up by the garbage truck on a glass collection day.
2. “Daisy St. Patience” cynically exposes obsessive and idle behaviors tied together in never-ending and repetitive patterns, seeking out remedies and magic potions through lucid dreams and attempts to annihilate any will and consciousness. From the beginning, odd rhythmics create the structure for acid clanking guitars and crooked vocals, opening up in greatly dissonant parts. Everything comes together in the straight-up finale, which makes an oneiric happy-sad little run.
Fra: The title is inspired by one of the many identities of the narrator of “Invisible Monsters”, the brilliant novel by Chuck Palahniuk. It’s nervous as hell, but somehow I find it peaceful, there’s a certain positive energy… like you wanna break things but in a good way.
3. “Get Scurvy” is a sleepless eyes-wide-open night spent watching the electric sparks on the retina.
The intro is kind of a post-punk new-wavey crescendo with tons of reverb, and gradually the song evolves into sharp, aggressive and noisy riffs, leaving behind the politeness and forgetting about the dreamy atmosphere of the start.
Luca: The song title pays homage to some random writing on the backstage wall at the Kafe Kult in Munich, a historical live venue that we grew up in, seeing loads of excellent shows (and where we played a couple times ourselves). I quote the writing: “Christopher Columbus, Get Scurvy tour 1492”. Fuckin’ genius.
4. “Efty fringles” is a hymn to the neglected, to the leftovers living at the margins of social rules. A nihilistic view towards humanity happily walking towards self annihilation without interfering: “Shovel days out, god is yawning, be the change in no one’s life”.
Behind this mysterious title (made actually by bogus words), you find a lot of harsh slashy guitars and tight rhythmics, and barely-in-tune vocals à la Fugazi/Pissed Jeans/IDLES. And it ends up in a beautiful melodic, complex and long finale which we wrote without ever meeting in person during the lockdown, like literally…
5. “Greasy ponds” is a heartless trip through the uncharted territories of void and abandon, a gelid glimpse into the badlands of human condition in dark and uncertain times, a struggle in carrying heavy burdens while trying to unblock “the rusty gears of self absolution”. Or maybe just try to unplug and plug back.
This is the last track of the “Upside”, the side A of “Disastersss”. We wrote it with the idea of staying minimalistic, and playing with intertwined melodies and spoken word vocals. We allowed ourselves some room for shouts and distortions in the loopy final climax.
6. “Herpes Zoroaster” tries to cope with irreversible damages and emotional crippling earned by ageing as weird adults, as “a train wreck in disguise” being meanwhile sure that we were lucky by dodging much worse.
Fra: It is a (post-)punk song with a long and kaleidoscopic melodic trajectory, something you can definitely dance to like a teenager, play air guitar to or drum with your hands on the steering wheel while your car stereo volume is turned up through the roof.
7. “Hesitation junkie” celebrates the addiction to avoiding decisions, it’s a tribute to the undecided and the procrastinators. The leaders of tomorrow.
Monotonic guitars, sharp rhythmic patterns and a groovy bass sustain obsessive post-punk styled vocals. You don’t need much else.
Luca: The vocals go as a mantra, gradually increase in intensity together with the instrumental part. There’s definitely a trajectory here, it’s like I’m getting more and more pissed between one verse and the other.
8. “Moody glues” is a bitter and passive-aggressive analysis of self-sabotaging performances as “creative strategies to fail in tiring ways”. It is a noise-punk song. “Make sure you hit me hard enough, before you walk off my way. Make sure you finish what you started and try to sell me as spare parts for a few coins.”
9. “Edgar Larsenhands” sings about the inevitable decay and transmutation of human relationships, of any kind. This song’s about dissonance and calm in a fine-tuned emotional rollercoaster.
Luca: It’s like drunkdriving with premenstrual syndrome. As if I knew what that means.
10. “Sgt. Popper” is a raging noise-post-punk song.
Teo: It’s a goofy attempt to fill up memory gaps caused by constant hurry, lack of concentration and… There was a third one…sorry, who are you…?
11. “Loans will tear us apart” is the last song of the “Downside”, side B of “Disastersss”. It is a guitar-vocals-drums lo-fi sort-of-ballad. It is a chant for the almost-forgotten in the undefined and blurred stream of time.
Michi: We figured it’d be nice to play this one at some point with an acoustic guitar plugged in a wrecked combo amp set to 11, and a drum kit far far away, like in the corner of a huge warehouse.
It’s been a difficult year for musicians and everyone working around music in any sense. Still some cool releases found their space. We asked FRANA for their top picks and favorite records this year so far and here’s what we got:
Protomartyr – Ultimate Success Today
Heads. – Push
Metz – Atlas Vending
Fontaines D.C. – A Hero’s Death
IDLES – Ultra Mono
Hum – Inlet
Coriky – S/T
Chris Sutter – Bumbling on the Marsh
Kurt Vile – Speed, Sound, Loneliness
Shame – Water in the Well
King Krule – Man Alive!
Greg Dulli – Random Desire
Don Karate – S/T
Soft Kill – Dead Kids RIP City
Emma Ruth Rundle & Thou – May Our Chambers Be Full
Viagra Boys – Common Sense
USA Nails – Character Stop