Frances Quinlan
Likewise


3.5
great

Review

by Colton USER (8 Reviews)
July 10th, 2020 | 25 replies


Release Date: 01/31/2020 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Excellent songwriting and vocals, and not much else.

The dynamic nature of Hop Along’s music has always given their albums a lot of variety. Quinlan is an incredible and diverse singer, and can use her voice to convey a wide array of emotions. She can convey anger, sadness, fear and wit all in the same line. On top of that, their songs are structured in a way that keeps them consistently engaging. They rarely follow the simple verse, chorus, bridge formula, instead opting for a more varied approach to the way they structure songs. They often introduce a hook in the beginning of a song, and reiterate that hook later on a more cathartic, immensely catchy way. These qualities give their songs a full-bodied sense of cohesion that keeps the listener engaged from start to finish.

A lot of these qualities are lacking on most of Quinlan’s solo debut Likewise. The songs follow a more generic structure, and the hooks and melodies rarely evolve or change the way they do on Hop Along’s albums. There’s simply less going on here overall, and these songs are more simple in their design. So logically, the question becomes if Quinlan’s songwriting ability and vocals are enough to carry an album without all the aforementioned traits that define Hop Along’s music, and with such a minimal approach being taken to some of the album’s arrangements and productions.

For the most part, it is. Quinlan’s passionate, eclectic vocals really shine on this album, and the comparative lack of instrumentation compared to Hop Along’s work really makes her the star of the show here (even more than she was before). Songs like Your Reply, with its simple, catchy piano melody, is an example of how when she’s at her best, Quinlan’s unique melodies and wordy lyrics can carry a song on their own. It’s catchy and feels fully fleshed out despite being fairly simple relative to Hop Along’s music. Detroit Lake is another highlight, with its entrancing electronic instrumentation giving way to a stunning hook, and it honestly stands toe to toe with Hop Along’s best songs because of it. Even when she delivers the same melody several times, there are subtleties on her voice that add variety and make the songs more engaging.

Unfortunately, the album is inconsistent. Piltdown Man is the outline of a nearly great song, but it’s simply too repetitive with its instrumentation, with its sparse, muddy keyboard chords just not being enough to carry it. There’s not enough going on, for no real reason. A Secret is another example of a song being too sparse for its own good, and its simplicity isn’t compensated for by Quinlan’s vocals, which feel too subdued for their own good on this track. These songs are fairly forgettable, which is a shame because their core melodies are fairly good, and could have easily been turned into something more substantial.

Thankfully, the album picks up towards the end. While the instrumentation remains fairly sparse, songs like Went to LA are varied enough in structure to remain interesting, and Quinlan’s melodies are both memorable and powerful. She begins to really implement her range as a vocalist, with certain parts being understated and quiet, and others being boisterous and loud. With the exception of the cover song Carry The Zero, which is fairly forgettable, the album’s second half is carried by Quinlan’s unique ear for melodies and strong vocal performances.

It’s unfortunate that certain songs on here sound almost unfinished, when they easily could have been made into something more substantial and interesting. But Quinlan proves with this album that she’s capable of writing catchy, captivating music without a full band behind her, and her uniquely passionate vocal style is enough to make this more stripped down style of music compelling when she wants it to.



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user ratings (73)
3.3
great


Comments:Add a Comment 
Colton
July 10th 2020


9104 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Figured this deserved a review

dedex
Contributing Reviewer
July 10th 2020


7591 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

Good rev Colton. The point you make during paras 1 and 2 is the exact reason why I didn't enjoy this.

Digging: Monobody - Comma

Colton
July 10th 2020


9104 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Thanks dex, and yeah it’s definitely not as good as any Hop Along albums because of that. The best songs on here are great though.

SowingSeason
Moderator
July 10th 2020


37189 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Good write up. Found this quite dull when I listened to it last year and this review is a reminder for me to rate it.

Digging: Greta Van Fleet - The Battle at Garden's Gate

theBoneyKing
July 10th 2020


20180 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

^ This came out in January but indeed January does feel like a different year lol.

Colton
July 10th 2020


9104 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Yeah that's fair, a lot of this is definitely boring but the good stuff makes up for it imo. I think she'll drop something much better eventually.

hamid95
July 10th 2020


945 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

went to LA is one of the best things she's ever done

a few duds here, tho

Slex
July 12th 2020


11017 Comments


This is so bland and jumbled

Digging: The Armed - Ultrapop

brandontaylor
July 12th 2020


1027 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

pretty much agree totally with this review. album has some bangers but is wholly forgettable compared to the last hop along

SowingSeason
Moderator
July 12th 2020


37189 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I could have sworn this was a 2019 release. This year is taking its sweet ass time.

Slex
July 12th 2020


11017 Comments


Yeah I'm blown away that this is a 2020 release lmao

Colton
July 12th 2020


9104 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Yeah hard to believe this and the new Pinegrove came out this year

deathschool
July 12th 2020


27315 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Album rules hard.

luci
July 13th 2020


12538 Comments


whenever this gets bumped i remember neek saying her "carry the zero" is more enjoyable than built to spill's which is one of the worst opinions i've ever seen

JohnnyoftheWell
Staff Reviewer
July 13th 2020


34965 Comments


i don't need this to be bumped to remember that fucking atrocity of a comment

Digging: Xiu Xiu - OH NO

hamid95
July 13th 2020


945 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

yeah, that's whack

Slex
July 13th 2020


11017 Comments


Hahahaha shit I almost forgot that happened

neekafat
Contributing Reviewer
August 7th 2020


21013 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

"more enjoyable" is fucking stupid and I doubt I said it like that, that's an indie rock banger so obvs a lot more fun

I like her cover a bit better because I love her vocals/the outro and have no nostalgia for the original

neekafat
Contributing Reviewer
August 7th 2020


21013 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

I checked and what I said was literally "I might like her version better" so fuck off luci goddamn at least quote my bad takes correctly

Cormano
August 7th 2020


2650 Comments


lol



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