The Frank and Walters

The Grand Parade

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    9
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Grand Parade sees the Frank & Walters operating in their most catchy, bombastic, and anthemic form. Guitars are epic yet always jangling. Paul Linehan's vocals are emotional and often sweetly strained. The songs all beg for repeat listens, to the point where they become stuck in one's head to such an extent that the album nearly becomes unplayable. With most of the songs hovering in the three- to four-minute range, the band gets their hope-filled message across as if they're using jangle rock sledgehammers and get out before things become too overbearing. "Indian Ocean" is one of the most beautiful, perfect alternative rock tracks of all time, suggesting the emotion of U2 and the songwriting craft of the Smiths, but in a style that's entirely the band's own. The chorus of "Maybe you'd like to come and live on the ocean/Maybe you'd like to come and live by the sea" couldn't be more sublime. The songs are optimistic and uplifting almost to a fault. "Little Dolls" is an anthem relating the sad state of mind of a heartbroken woman which sees the band sounding like a happier version of the Verve. Strings swell and the song becomes quite emotional. "How Can I Exist" depicts more angst and more lyrics detailing the need to hold onto hope with Linehan singing "It's time that we got together/And made it right." Hope is the greatest theme of The Grand Parade, and the band's enthusiasm along with their constant desire to see a bad situation turn good seem entirely genuine. Through fantastic hooks and bold choruses, The Grand Parade becomes an infection of powerful optimism. "Have You Ever" contains more vocals about turning things right, as some of the most swoon-worthy, harmonic wailing in all of rock swirls out of the album. "Lately" makes sure things don't get too sugary, closing the album with a sense that indifference is creeping into the Frank & Walters' worldview. It's a quiet, excellent close to an album of equal bombast and grace. Grand Parade sees the band at the peak of their emotional power, mastering their jangle rock style. They must have known there was no higher wrung on the ladder of their genre, so before they went on to later albums incorporating more electronic trickery, they released this joyous good-luck charm to a welcoming audience. Since the band is a bit ignored in the great scheme of things, this album is an excellent place to start for anyone new to the band. The Grand Parade is indeed grand, and infinitely enjoyable.

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