Lionhearts - Lionhearts
Most listeners are familiar with Seabound, the collaboration between Frank Spinath (or Frank M. Spinath as he sometimes goes by) and Martin Vorbrodt. While Spinath supplies vocals for other projects such as Edge of Dawn, Lionhearts is his first solo release. Spinath handles all of the work except for production, which Ben Lucas Boysen oversees. Solo projects are often introspective with softer, interior views of the artist and Lionhearts is no different.
'Flashback' is an instrumental introduction to the album and its open, atmospheric, searching sound characterizes the rest of the instrumentals. 'The Ardent City' contains philosophical statements such as, "We give up what we ought to protect,” and “We’ll never be where we belong”. According to the notes on Bandcamp—where this review draws all of its non-lyrical quotes—the track is a “...love story about two people not meant for each other.” 'Abandon' is another instrumental passage but this one feels eerie and unsettling. 'Gone' begins with piano, drops it, and then the piano comes back with beats. The single word 'you' is sung with such urgency. 'Cloud' is a serious song about “...the last fight of a dying boxer, sarcastically commented on by the singer from a shielded VIP lounge.” While the point of view may not be not the boxer, the vocals sound distant, disembodied, almost wobbly as if a dazed Spinath sings them after a brutal match he has just lost. The sweeping instrumental 'Kite' creates the feel of an untethered kite floating aimlessly through the sky.
The sound of 'Kite' bleeds—pun intended—into 'Murder', which takes on a harder edge and begins with a voiceover summarizing the gruesome crimes of “...the highly intelligent serial killer Edmund Kemper who only handed himself in after he murdered several hitchhiker girls as well as his own mother.” Kemper has given a variety of taped interviews and it’s quite likely that the second set of samples are the actual voice of Kemper discussing his twisted acts. Spinath is a university professor who teaches psychology so while the track itself is shocking, it’s not surprising he might incorporate this type of material in a song. Exploring blame and guilt, he asks, “Do you feel responsible?” The album starts “...golden and bright before getting progressively colder and darker,” and this transition comes with 'Murder', the midpoint of the album. 'Hint', another instrumental, starts the second half. 'Threat' is a higher tempo track, but the instruments are slower. It’s almost if the beats and the instruments are part of two different tracks, but they work together. 'To What I Don’t Know' is another fast one. Very catchy, it’s the best song in the collection. 'No Going Back' is largely instrumental, and the album closes with 'In the Sand.' Track thirteen is a continuous mix of the other twelve tracks.
The listener may wonder why there are so many instrumentals. Perhaps Spinath is trying to distinguish Lionhearts from Seabound or perhaps he is trying to prove that he is not just a singer but a very capable instrumentalist and programmer as well.
Lionhearts is a nocturnal album for night people, an afterparty chillout album. While it will be of interest to fans of Spinath and Seabound and “...the songs have gathered just like driftwood over the years,” it’s not a lost Seabound album. Consider this one a hearty snack between meals.Oct 02 2017
UPDATED: The Holy Mother of Rave The Reqviem Steps Down, New Lead Vocalist to Be Announced Next Week
I am Professor of English at Beacon College. I still buy compact discs.
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