Somewhere in the Sierras



by NoSons USER (26 Reviews)
July 7th, 2015 | 10 replies

Release Date: 2015 | Tracklist

Review Summary: I guess I'll love you when I can.

Michael Franzino has always been one for larger than life compositions filled to the brink with multiple instruments fighting for space in every mix. Often times he builds upon one centralized theme that different instruments focus on throughout one song to subliminally let your mind say 'oh yea, I have heard that before.' Somewhere In The Sierras is his journey of bringing out all of his internalized or repressed emotions that were never expressed fully on his efforts in A Lot Like Birds. It is correct to say that alone. is a completely different animal with a similar writing style, but stylistically and sonically a completely different sound with an entirely different experience.

Pick any song on the album (except for 'Interlude for Andrew Dammar') and notice how they do not sound anything like another track on here. There are similar ideas floating between certain tracks, like the use of big, explosive walls of heavier distortion on 'A Scopare Ma Non Sentire' and 'You Are My Sunshine' but they neither sound similar or have the same pace. The former is an epic call to adventure with extensive layers of guitars and rolling toms to ascend listeners to the creative flow of Franzino. The latter is a dark reimagining of an old lullaby that could find it's way in a movie score at the emotional climax of love. The amount of vocals harmonizing together gives off an ominous tone with a graceful bridge that twists like the innards of a clock. 'Leave Me' is the outcast on this album in it being having absolutely no guitars, instead having a dace pop synth feel with a rather simple but driven beat.

The centerpieces of the record 'Close Without Closure' and 'Please Try' are probably the most straight forward "rock" songs here. Danika McClure shines on 'Close Without Closure' and offers a female reflection on the topic of lovers not being able to actually be in love at the current time. The chorus sees her presence compliment but not overwhelm Franzino's falsettos, crying out with emotional poignancy. 'Please Try' has one of the strong rhythm sections across the album, highlighting again how talented Joe Arrington is on the drums. 'More Fiend' is a dark track that escalates and grows more powerful with every chorus. The song was written about a man aware of his coming death, and it shows with the lyric "when I die will you write on my grave that I was almost great?" Death is again a subject touched on when the most emotional track 'Maternity Leave (Funeral March 28th)' offers a look at a vulnerable songwriter after losing their mother at a young age. As the track continues on the string sections become spastic, giving off the panic and desperate feeling that one must feel after trying to cope with such a close loved one passing away.

All in all, alone. offers more than most thought Franzino was capable of. He shines bright as an artist/musician conquering a very ambitious project. Every layer is calculated and aware of its purpose on the record. For now, this is an excellent middle ground for fans waiting for the fourth LP for A Lot Like Birds. In general the album excels in giving listeners a new taste at the feelings of loneliness and difficult breakups.

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user ratings (43)
other reviews of this album
Jordan Bowlin (5)
“Equal parts catchy, haunting, and beautiful.”...

Comments:Add a Comment 
July 8th 2015


Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

I was going to write a review but have never really found the time. Good review, we share pretty similar views! Pos'd.

July 8th 2015


Album Rating: 2.5

this bored the poo outta me.

July 8th 2015


Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks for the pos! Appreciate it greatly!

Calc, how so? What specifics were the boring parts? To be honest I am not a fan at all of 'Redundant, Redundant' but think the artistic value of writing an album and mastering/creating every part is insane, especially to sync it all together into a cohesive song (maybe I am just a failure of a musician myself so this inspires me)

July 9th 2015


You Are My Sunshine is arguably the most cringe inducing thing I've heard all year.

July 9th 2015


Album Rating: 4.0

You thought so? I enjoyed it the first time I heard it, which was at 1:15 on a walk outside through the ghetto, so I was already on edge and that song threw me over.

Such a surprise at first.

July 23rd 2015


Album Rating: 4.5

Love, love, love, this album, mang.

August 12th 2015


This is awesome, if only a little bit inconsistent in places.

October 2nd 2016


He went into the woods to write this lol

September 29th 2017


"close without closure" is really nice

"you are my sunshine" is really bad

December 20th 2019


Album Rating: 2.5

I'll just leave here one of the perks for the indiegogo page for this album:

Your Name, My Ass.

€315 EUR

- I will tattoo your first and last name on my ass to remain there forever and always, for every lover I ever have to ask about with a concerned look on their face. - Your name in the thank you section of the cd forever and always. - Video diary of writing process - Rough demos from the writing process of the album and all 3 ALLB records. - Exclusive hand-printed shirt & patch. - Physical CD with exclusive artwork. - Signed album art poster - Digital download of the album 1 week earl

Estimated Shipping

December 2014

2 out of 3 claimed

He - literally - worked his ass off on this one.

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