Premiere: Frankie & the Witch Fingers
From out of the hazy distance, a weird beast approaches summoned by beating drums and the snarl of guitars. Frankie and the Witch Fingers’ new album, Monsters Eating People Eating Monsters—out October 4th on RAS/Greenway records—is the soundtrack to this approach: conjuring a landscape of red rock wild creatures draped in furs, riding on motorcycles and dune buggies, and improbably large, incredibly weird monsters— relics of a forgotten time.
The project marks the band’s sixth album since their formation in 2013 and serves largely as a continuation of the sound they’ve developed over that 7 year span: a collection of multiple tours, several personnel changes, culminating in a guitar-forward wash of psych-rock energy punctuated by the rhythmic vocals of songwriter and vocalist Dylan Sizemore.
Frankie & The Witch Fingers are a band born for the stage, having spent most of last year on tour opening for Osees, Cheap Trick, and ZZ Top—then home to record Monsters Eating People Eating Monsters in just five days. This concise process is reflected in the sonic continuity of the project, each song blending into the last through lines of feedback that run throughout. On the flipside, this means that no song particularly stands out as a clear single, and the album doesn’t represent a huge sonic departure from the group’s previous discography. Still, the album plays smoothly from start to finish, maintaining its energy as tempos and rhythms come and go.
The most notable difference between Monsters Eating People Eating Monsters and the band’s last effort, ZAM, is largely on the engineering side of the spectrum. MEPEM sounds cleaner, with the various parts occupying their own space in a way that lets each instrument breathe a bit more, all done without sacrificing the general size of the mix. It’s a little more focused, and the vocals in particular benefit from a bit more clarity than some of the band’s earlier more garage-y recordings.
In terms of the vocals, singer Dylan Sizemore provides the same largely percussive energy he has on past projects, but Sizemore seems to use the space provided by the cleaner mix for a slightly more melodic approach than on past projects. Still, it’s often hard to tell exactly what he’s saying, and frankly it doesn’t matter that much. Snippets come in and out, but the vocals here are largely working towards the same energetic goal rather than across or against it.
All things considered, Monsters Eating People Eating Monsters is a solid psych shred-fest falling well within Frankie & The Witch Finger’s wheelhouse and delivered with a confidence and drive that helps it maintain its frantic energy as it races through the desert, off toward some sun-bleached horizon.