I can’t tell what Frank de Boer’s natural singing voice is like on his sophomore album Aliens Ate My Amplifiers. On his Bandcamp page he explains that he has a “versatile voice ranging from Buddy Holly to Johnny Cash and Cat Stevens and the style to match.” I can’t disagree. He sounds like the ghost of Johnny Cash on “Balls of Steel” but then occasionally sounds like Elvis on “Mediterranean View.”
As you can tell from the cover art and title of his album de Boer has a sense of humor. De Boer’s lyrics range from silly to absurd and sometimes both. Some of my personal favorites include, “Pigs are flying, the pelicans are buying And the world is a ball on its feet There‘s one slice of pie politicians are lying And divide it up to make us all sweet” and “We’re gonna build unfettered fireworks of such mythical proportions That if people bore witness, they would build a religion around it.”
Kidding aside de Boers has some talent when it comes to songwriting. “A Higher Place” is a fun, upbeat song that is dynamic and creative. De Boers combines infectious melodies with silly, ambiguous and poignant lyrics that end of sounding like a cathartic church revival.
Other songs like “Balls of Steel” are sparse acoustic guitar driven songs that as you may have guessed from the title can be humorous while “It Don’t Bother Me” is an instrumentally rich, upbeat song that is catchy and sing along worthy. De Boers also occasionally rocks out with a song like “Aliens Ate My Amplifiers” which contains a good amount of swing and electric guitar.
Aliens Ate My Amplifiers might not be the most prolific album this year but it is a fun, well-produced ride that works on a number of different levels. Even though de Boers’ voice often mutates it somehow works and feels surprisingly consistent.
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