If you type Frank Palangi into Google, you are probably going to believe that you are about to listen to yet another player in the new wave of Folk troubadours who worship at the feet of Bob Dylan and Neil Young. If you stick to this illusion, you are going to be in for a bit of a shock when you turn on his debut EP — this album rocks harder than the pictures posing next to acoustic guitars might suggest. Palangi does not just take inspiration from the Bob Dylan’s of this world, his music also tips its hats to bands like Guns ‘N Roses and Motorhead.
The opening track, “I’m Waiting,” wouldn’t sounded out of place on a Velvet Revolver album with its epic sounding chorus — that Frank screaming that he’s waiting for you to realise “what is there for you.” It instantly throws out any idea that this is music is more suited to coffeehouses than arenas. “Driving These Lines” has a Depeche Mode like intro and a bouncy beat that has you tapping your foot before it drops down into the rock and roll riff that instantly that has you hooked. These riffs are catchy and leaves the listener wanting to dance around the room.
“Love” slows down a bit at the mid-point of the EP with Palangi able to show a rawer edge to his voice with this emotional track. This moment shows the inspiration behind his press shots and he slips seamlessly into this role. Palangi’s voice sounds like it’s spent many a long night being abused by cigarettes and whiskey, and while on the rock numbers this adds a dangerous edge with his gravely growl, here it allows an edge of frailty to come out. He sings, “you gave me a reason to believe, that love was really there.” Many musicians spend their career trying to develop a vocal style that allows the audience to believe what they sing, but Palangi is lucky enough to have been gifted with it.
The gravely nature of his voice fits perfectly to the opening of “It’s All Right”. Palangi ominously explains that, “sometimes people die without knowing the true meaning in life”. This is by far the darkest song on the album. However, it’s tinged with a degree of hope as it leads towards it’s big chorus where the title of the track comes into fruition. It sees a return to the rock sound that opened the album and the guitar work throughout is once again fantastic at pulling you into the song this time making you want to punch the air.
Finally the closer ,“Remembrance,” sees a return to the acoustic mind set as Palangi sees the EP out on an emotional, and yet probably the simplest, track. This is just Palangi and his guitar and because of that it allows the honesty that his voice exudes to really show and also shows how sometimes keeping it simple allows the best music to really come out.
Frank Palangi seems like he is stuck in two minds on this EP. On one hand tracks like “I’m Waiting” suggest a career leading a rock and roll band while “Remembrance” suggests strumming an acoustic guitar. What is impressive is that he seems completely comfortable and talented when donning either hat. While this is only a five track EP, it makes it crystal clear that Palangi has the ability to obtain great success. Palangi writes good and simple rock songs. They are held up on the strength of his own ability to make them sound honest and inventive, rather than something old hat that we have heard before. While we are occasionally left wondering whether he has yet to find his own sound that doesn’t really matter on a debut EP, this shows all the potential to lead to somewhere big and if he can tackle and craft a sound that is distinctly his you get the feeling it could be something special.