By ALICEN HACKNEY
The Frights formed in 2012 and ever since they’ve been growing both stylistically and creatively. With the release of their most recent album “Hypochondriac,” which came out on Aug 24, The Frights have stretched from their consistent surf punk sound to encompass a grungy and rather clear studio sound. For this album, lead singer and guitar player Mikey Carnevale approached writing in a new and invasive way.
“The writing flowed pretty naturally,” said Carnevale. “I went through quite a lot of bullsh*t since the last record…so, I had a lot to talk about. It’s mostly personal stuff, so I tried to make venting entertaining to listen to.”
“Hypochondriac” has songs that represent some different and all too common mental issues like anxiety and depression, and how these things affect the band on the road. “No Place Like (Not Being) Home” directly deals with what it’s been like for the band members to be on the road, how it feels to be in the van all day, and how they feel about the isolation created by this lifestyle. “Tell Me Why I’m Okay” focuses on the realities of living with depression, how often it feels impossible to do anything but close yourself in at home, and that the answers in this case look to be medication or suicide. “Broken Brain” and “Pills” both deal with addiction in different ways, the first seems to nod to medication taken for an anxiety disorder while the second deals more with a self-prescribed and life-long addiction.
“Crutch” is one of the three songs on the album that has a music video out, all three of which focus more heavily on life as a touring musician and growing up through it. Carnevale has stated, “It’s a song about our band. About how it can simultaneously be the coolest thing in the world and the only thing I actually hate.” This song flows naturally into “Me and We and I” which is also one of the three music videos. In this song there’s a sense of losing your mind about growing into adulthood, just the opening sets the scene of a man shaving off all of his hair because he had a feeling he was going bald.
There’s a three song progression towards the end of the album that can be put together to represent a relationship from the wonderful beginning parts of love, light, and wonder, to the difficult and shudder-inducing end. “Goodbyes” describes the beginning of a relationship with someone who comes out of nowhere but brightens your whole world, someone who makes you realize just how good things can be and how hard it is to say goodbye to that feeling. “Hold Me Down” expresses the emotions of a failing relationship that you’d do anything to have back even though you may have messed up this relationship and others exponentially. This song is immediately followed by “Alone” which is said to be about Carnevale’s ex-girlfriend, “A real pretty girl that I know. How did I scare her away? A mistake that I shouldn’t have made. Wearing my blood on my sleeves, smother, it helps, but it’s harder to breathe.” These songs flow in progression from realizing a relationship is growing distant to having to watch it be torn away from you, “like my heart that you tore from my guts with your words.”
“Over It” features layered vocalization in the chorus that is intriguing and incredibly pleasant to the ear, while the lyrics and the rest of the instrumentation in the song express excruciating frustration with a significant other who can’t seem to stop bringing drama into a dead situation. “Whatever” is a gut punch expressing what it had been like for Carnevale to play songs he had written about his ex before they had broken up. “And I’m still messed up from when you said you didn’t love me thirty minutes before we played ten songs about your name. And this crowd is screaming back as I had a heart attack, as I tried to play the lead, as I yelled ‘You’re all I need.’” Here the song references a track off of the band’s last album called “All I Need.”
This album is for the tough times and good times alike with its more aggressive songs propped up well against bouncy and reassuring vibes. “Hypochondriac” is an incredibly honest album about going through your twenties and trying to find yourself while dealing with the difficult things life throws your way, which any twenty-something can attest to.
The Frights have already begun their U.S. tour as of Aug. 24, and Saturday, Oct. 6 they will be in Baltimore at the Metro Gallery. Tickets are currently available through the band’s website and through Ticketfly, but many shows on the tour have already sold out.