The prolific artist Casey Frensz has released a good amount of music, some of which we previously reviewed here at Divide and Conquer. His latest release Learning to Love is a sincere and heartfelt release. On his Bandcamp page he explains, “This is a record of gratitude and love. Learning to love means a lot of things, and as the words imply, it’s a forever incomplete process. The nice thing I’m finding is that the loving path is one of great joy, fulfillment, and serendipity.” This was interesting to me and felt like a declaration you might hear from someone who has been studying meditation or decided to embrace Buddhism. These types of awakenings for someone could have a huge effect on their music.
The album opens with “Black Hole” and if the album was only this track it would still be a great record. It’s just under twenty-five minutes in length and I could write the whole review around this song. The song is all over the place stylistically but feels seamless. There are sections which blend African percussive elements, there are sections that feel more Eastern and there are sections that seem to sound like ’70s classic rock for starters. Suffice it to say this is a song that is a blast to explore.
The songs are more contained after that start with the percussive heavy and horn driven “My Drum!” which is a blast. I loved the tender and vocally driven “Learning to Love” which reminded me of a ’60s type of song but more pop oriented.
If you are going to name a song “Mama's Shakin' It,” you better have a great groove. Frensz delivers with a sort of bluegrass and country infused song that at points sounds like it could be a song for a kids show. The banjo sounds great.
The minimal slide guitar on “Always Gonna Be Here” sounds more like something you would hear from Jack White. Speaking of a kid’s show the intro to “Everybody Needs Friends (feat. George Moye, Allen Kirk, Marcus Bell, Reid Ziolkowski & Mike Arceneaux)” has an intro that sounds like it’s a tv program for kids. This song is funky and sounds somewhere between Phish and Parliament-Funkadelic.
Ween is one of the only bands that can get away with blending many different styles. I don’t know how but they do and so does Frensz. It’s an impressive trait and certainly points to a talented enough musician who can pull that type of thing off. This album is one of my favorites from Frensz. Highly recommended.
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