Review Summary: Frances Quinlan's wondrously eccentric DIY spirit in CD form.
Adorable is not really one of the buzzwords here at Sputnikmusic, but it is the first thing that comes to mind when listening to Hop Along Queen Ansleis. The stage name of Philadelphia native Frances Quinlan, Hop Along Queen Ansleis is one of the quirkiest, fun, and downright cute musical projects that I have come across in recent years. Frances' music recalls the simplistic sincerity of Bright Eyes' earliest recordings but done by a girl with a charmingly pitchy, endearingly cute voice and instead of being filled with the self-righteous musings of a depressed mid-western teen, they are quirky, happy songs about love, life, and the absurd.
Hop Along Queen Ansleis' debut, Freshman Year
, evokes a spirit of being enraptured in the moment. Frances Quinlan's distinctive and impassioned vocals soar over her easy going acoustic guitar, her voice speeding up and slowing down in spurts as she tries to cram as much substance as humanly possible in to the framework of subdued yet jangly acoustics. For those that are willing to look beyond the surface, this framework is constantly expanded upon in a perfectly DIY fashion with bells, tin cans, whistles and kazoos, giving Freshman Year
an identity all to itself.
As previously mentioned, the focal point of all things Hop Along Queen Ansleis is Frances Quinlan. Her storytelling fittingly compliments the bedroom recording style of the album by reading like the pages of a diary: spontaneous, bare, simplistic, and perfectly eccentric. On paper what seems like nonsense turns to brilliance when coming out of Frances' mouth, point in case the song "Of My Brothers and the Bear", where lines like "and the bear'd be on a flagpole/wave to all the little boys and girls/come spring he would disintegrate/and be reborn a plumber," manage to make perfect sense.
Hop Along Queen Ansleis' Freshman Year
is full of the spirit of life. Every song has the energy of the here and now, and beyond that it's just irresistibly sweet. Sort of like a midnight snack, in music form.