Album Premiere: Frankie Valet—’Waterfowl’

Posted: by The Editor

A valet driver has to be versatile. Someone who’s comfortable cruising stranger’s cars of various shapes and sizes through a maze of other vehicles they’re tasked with safeguarding. It might sound like an easy gig, but it’s trickier than that. Weaving through a parking lot’s worth of rock sub-genres on a single record requires a similar level of finesse, and on their sophomore record WaterfowlFrankie Valet do it without nicking a single bumper. The St. Louis band put out a few EP’s before their 2018 full-length Stop Apologizing, an inconsistent yet very promising debut of scrappy power-pop with some serious highs. After some lineup switches that slimmed them to a solid quartet, they’re now returning with Waterfowl, which feels like their first fully-realized artistic statement.

The 10-song record finds common ground among a litany of styles and sounds; swollen shoegaze pop, slowcore, classic twee, emo and good ole indie-rock. The band restlessly switch between three different vocalists with three distinct voices, so the album plays like a refreshingly dynamic melange of sticky hooks, balmy shoegaze builds, creative riffs and memorable basslines. Songs like “Engulfed” and the Dogs On Acid-esque “Our Apartment” are beer-in-hand sing-alongs, whereas tracks like “Nakid” and “Soft Skin” crescendo neatly into swirling reverb and hypnotic grooves. Frankie Valet’s sound cannot be described in a single song, and for some bands that could be seen as a detrimental lack of identity. Here, the scattered tracklist feels born of a youthful urge to encapsulate their early-twenties growth, a period of our lives when a single semester can feel like a transformative era of maturation. Why try to confine that to a sole expression?

Waterfowl is a terrific listen from top to bottom, and you can stream it in full below ahead of its release this Friday:

Waterfowl is out 2/7 via It Takes Time Records. Pre-order vinyl/tape/digital here.

Eli Enis | @eli_enis

The Alternative is ad-free and 100% supported by our readers. If you’d like to help us produce more content and promote more great new music, please consider donating to our Patreon page, which also allows you to receive sweet perks like free albums and The Alternative merch.