Frank Westphal is an artist from San Diego who started to get involved with music since the age of twelve. His recent release Basic Elements of Human Experience is wide in scope as he explains “covers some of the basic, and also most significant, life events that happen for most people throughout life...love and loss, life and death, happiness and sadness.”
I felt the music was fairly varied rock as he hits upon different areas like grunge and even pop. Westphal keeps the songs clean staying away from heavier distortion in favor of sparkling elements. The themes are pretty straightforward as Westphal utilizes direct language in his songs.
The album opens with “For You” which starts off with the heavy topic of suicide. I thought the lyrics were intense and earnest. There isn’t much ambiguity here. The music here arguably more than on other songs has an acoustic grunge type of vibe. I thought the elements came together well with clarity from the guitar blending with memorable vocal melodies.
Up next is “Numb” which is about a breakup. He sings, “This cloud will not go away. You left me today, and now I feel the pain. Memories of lying in bed, but you don't feel a thing.” The guitar is beautiful on this track especially when the chorus kicks in. I thought the song bled with nostalgia and melancholy.
“Everyday” rocks out a little more than the previous song and showcases more energy but still embraces the melodic picking. The song felt like the most pop oriented in the batch. I thought there was even a smidge of country at points. “When I Die” is a shorter song that could also be considered the darkest song on the batch while the closer “Instrumental 03” is in fact a sparse instrumental.
Basic Elements of Human Experience is a solid effort with well written songs that feel heartfelt. There was a good amount of emotion poured into the recording and it doesn't take multiple listens to realize that.
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