Frankie McQueen - Nightride EP

Released June 13, 2014

By Alex Southey

Calgary band Frankie McQueen's latest EP, Nightride, is a blend of straight-ahead rock, ballads, and riff-heavy tracks. Pay particular attention to the clarity of the vocals on this EP, the result of quality recording. While solos unite the EP as a whole, none are lackluster and they easily transition from being blazing hot to subtle and intricate.

Mama Told Me kicks off the EP in the perfect way - by enveloping most of the sounds found on Nightride. The vocals are deep and sprawling, and always have a crunch. The guitar is raunchy with heavy distortion, though the clarity of the riffs remains intact. The rhythm section is thunderous and backs up the leads more than dutifully. Each portion of the band could be placed understandably in the spotlight at a live show.

Do You Think I'm Ready is accentuated by a slightly out-of-the-norm Rush-style riff, with vocals left slightly more tender than in Mama Told Me. There is a portion near the end where, with the rise and fall of the vocal melody, a bending, soft, clear-toned solo nimbly makes its way through. Nightmare sounds similar to a Monster Truck track, but while it has overlaps Frankie McQueen has a solo and riff style that is uniquely theirs.

No It's A Cardigan (But Thanks For Noticing) is one of the best song titles I've heard in a while, and the song is just as good. The opening riff, and the pauses between notes, makes the listener lean in in anticipation. Then, the track is able to kick off with the listener already invested. Once this is done, they strip away the riff's crunch and focus on a bouncing bass for the verse, with a high-pitched, ghostly croon between each verse. This is by far their most adventurous song in terms of experimentation with vocal range and guitar tone. The chorus, in contrast to the quiet verse, is incredibly explosive - making this track great for radio. Near the end of the track the tempo slows into a bluesy shakedown. The guitars screech, going from the lowest bends to the highest pinch harmonies. Steadily, the band progresses from a slow groove back into chorus tempo.

What I've Become and Take Me Home cover two ends of the spectrum, rock ballad and searing hard rock. The former potentially inspired by some Bob Seger songs, and the latter, I speculate, inspired by thrash metal like Metallica's first album Kill 'Em All.

The EP as a whole is a great, promising piece of work. It’s a big improvement on their previous EP and I can only imagine the live shows this band will put on in order to what they’ve created in the studio.