American Film History
Be Content with Your Light, Child
Frank McGinnis (formerly the eponymous Frankie of Hudson Valley wunderkinds Frankie and His Fingers), brings a highly realized, mature, and ambitious debut from his new project, American Film History, into the world. The production nods on the disc's nine songs are a marriage of Tunnel of Love-era Springsteen and the newest Father John Misty effort: a vibe of "What's old is new and what's new is old" permeates the arrangement choices. As if to wage war with his own album's title, McGinnis is neck deep in lyrical existential dread, which will be quite relatable to anyone on the other side of 30 years old and in a creative endeavor in the year 2018. While peppy and poppy, the songs weigh heavy with dread and despair, though that heaviness is often delivered with a bit of a wink and a smirk. If you can make a listener tap their foot while simultaneously questioning their own life choices, I say you've succeeded at creating a resonant piece of material. All that aside, the clear focus here is McGinnis's voice: an instrument so impressive, and performed with such control, it can within seconds go from the lilting head voice of the Weakerthans, John K. Samson, to the diaphragm belt of Harry Nilsson at the very top of his register. The album somehow manages to be anthemic all the way through, concluding with a nearly two-minute long, ripping saxophone solo that, keeping with the Springsteen theme, would have made Clarence Clemons proud.