A few years ago, Vincent Frank seemed primed to be this country’s next big pop star. Young, photogenic, Stuart Price roped in as producer, and a nice line in soulful yet quirky electro-pop anthems.
Although it never really set the charts alight in the manner expected, his debut album led to remixing work for the likes of Ellie Goulding, Lady Gaga and Pet Shop Boys, and he’s just produced the new Erasure album. So where next for the boy from Croydon?
Do It In The AM comes after a period of relocation to Los Angeles, and the Californian influence is more than noticeable on Do It In The AM. This is a big, shiny pop album – with all the auto-tuned vocals, big choruses and guest spots that you’d expect. It’s just a shame that it sounds so ridiculously uninspired and tired.
America seems to have robbed Frank of anything that once made him interesting. The appearance of Far East Movement, the group behind the supremely irritating Like A G6, should be the first sign that all will not be well. They feature on the title track, a vacuous, empty party song with an admittedly catchy chorus. The nod to dubstep towards the song’s end is the most interesting thing about it, and even Britney Spears did that more successfully on Hold It Against Me.
The other guest stars don’t fare too well either. Colette Carr guests on the glossy yet annoying No ID, although Natalia Kills does fare better on what’s probably the album’s best track, No Champagne. The auto-tune still hangs heavy in the air, but Frank and Kills’ voices work well together and the chorus sounds truly huge.
Yet there’s so little variety here that an entire 12 track album soon becomes very depressing to listen to. The heavily processed vocals, the pounding synths, the trite lyrics – there’s nothing sufficiently different or unusual here to make any of these songs stand out from the crowd.
Every now and again, we get a glimpse of what made Frankmusik such an intriguing proposition first time around. The dark beats of The Fear Inside makes for a welcome respite to the endless paeans to ‘having fun in the club’ while the closing Cut Me Down actually seems to have a bit of passion to it.
Great pop music imbues its own personality into proceedings. Sadly, Do It In The AM is formulaic, conveyor-belt pop music with no discernable feeling or soul to it. Whether it be the relocation to the West Coast, or simply an honest attempt to sell more records, the sad thing is that Vincent Frank now sounds exactly like everyone else vying for a chart position right now.