Review Summary: For you, I have to be young and happy.
Hype is a funny thing. In the internet age we now live in, it seems more and more that there is no middle ground. Hype is what can make or break a new artist. If delivered on, it can deliver a relative unknown like Laura Stevenson, who already is becoming an indie icon. Then there's the opposite side of the coin; take for instance fun., a band that was beloved for their debut album and are now maligned by many for going with a more mainstream and modern approach on their follow up. The age of instant satisfaction swings on a pendulum, and it swings just as hard both ways.
Enter 2012 and Get Disowned, the debut album from a reworked lineup of Frances Quinlan's mostly solo Hop Along, Queen Ansleis. Although releasing the buoyant and immensely satisfying Freshman Year in 2006, that album was mostly overlooked by a large number of people until the hype train started rolling on Hop Along. One listen back to Freshman Year, and it's clear that Frances Quinlan is a very unique and talented young artist who was bursting with the potential to make a positive impact in the indie/folk genre. So, two things could happen next: Frances Quinlan could keep doing what she was doing, and become a star in her own right, being highly respected and controlling a devoted fan base. Or, she could cash in on her eccentricities and gain a mainstream audience. Listening to Get Disowned, it's now obvious that an artist as unique and exuberant as Quinlan is going to keep marching to the beat of her own wacky drum.
Get Disowned is now the next big thing in the indie genre, and it delivers tenfold. Infectious, exhilarating, and eclectic, this is the first truly great album of 2012. Quinlan and her band have a way of making music that moves you in every which way, from gleeful to reflective to just downright amazed. It's not through some overwhelming musical ability or profound interior, but from the experience of getting caught up in all of the sweat and fervor that went into these recordings. There is an unbridled joy and unabashed comfortability in every song on this album that is too immense to ignore, a wave of feeling that washes over the listener. With this album having such a large personality, it's very unlikely that one could listen to Get Disowned and not either love it or hate it.
It's hard to pick out highlights, as from the moment the album begins to its final moment, it is engaging and exciting. There's the angular and poppy Tibetan Pop Stars, with a vocal performance from Quinlan that is surprisingly bitter, seething in the chorus, and leading to a huge band finish, intstrumentally and vocally. The lilting and softly buzzing Diamond Mine is downright gorgeous, slowly building with little discordant guitar squalls until it morphs into buoyant indie-pop, only to reach another short group sing-along and then Quinlan absolutely tears it up, accompanied by a wailing guitar. No Good Al Joad is catchy freak-folk that leads into soft respites of Quinlan crooning with a lone guitar, and then morphing into foot stomps and handclaps with endearingly off-key vocals, repeating the process until the songs close (sans the foot stomps and handclaps reappearing). Through every quirky and impassioned yelp, every swell of guitar, every euphoric chant feeling communal and every frantic rhythm getting your feet tapping, this is an album to lift you up, with the ability to change your mindset. Through being young and happy and talented, Get Disowned gives us the things that matter most in music: Passion, fun, emotion, and a sense of being a part of something that matters.