Californian composer Rita Hosking is certainly no stranger to the scene, having five albums to her name and a sixth soon to come. Entitled Frankie and the No-Go Road, the latter’s content explores “the soul’s journey through life” and leaves the identity of its narrator purposely ambiguous so that listeners will be able to assign their own meaning to the tales it tells.
It starts as the vivid vocals of “A Better Day” step into the spotlight and steal focus with their resonance, while the instrumentation strolls subtly in the background. The passion of the piece increases as it unfolds, resulting in a light but impactful opening number. An airy banjo begins “Wetiko” next and persists behind another resounding refrain. The instrumentation soon takes on an urgent edge alongside the pressing harmony.
The outcome is a stirring song ahead of the affecting introduction of “Magic Carpet”. From here, the pace is purposeful as the music and melody maintain an emotional ambience. The strings are particularly poignant before the fast and fervent instrumentation of “Power Moving In” takes over. Things stay speedy going forward, which forges an energetic anthem that remains busy all the way through.
There’s a chilling vibe to the enthusiastic instrumentation of “I See Storms”. Its arresting harmony captivates with its vigour and vitality until the end. “Our Land” exhibits a much more relaxed rhythm when it’s done and takes its time developing. “The No-Go Road” tones things down even further afterwards as it washes softly across the senses. The airy acoustic guitars and placid percussion that succeed it afford “Black Hole” a fun feel from the offset. Skipping serenely to a heartfelt chorus, its touching tune keeps it compelling.
“Mama Said” is a feisty affair, full of invigorating instrumentation and forceful vocals. “Spirit Canoe” follows as a quick and quirky composition that maintains a mesmerising momentum on the way to the warm riffs of “Resurrection”. A soothing serenade sets in and becomes especially expressive during the chorus. It’s a pleasant precursor to “Sing”, which serves as a spirited swansong.
This stripped down assortment of Americana anthems is made all the more enticing by the strikingly sonorous singing showcased throughout. Remaining restful but rousing, it’s a record that manages to be quite powerful at times. Its easy listening attitude and accessible execution should find favour with a wide audience. Keep an eye out for Frankie and the No-Go Road when it arrives in Ireland and the UK on October 30th.