This is a cool EP. It was labelled “folk” in my inbox, but I’m not sure that is what I would call it. I am not sure what else I would call it, but it is cool. The master behind The Retro Frames is named Freddy van Reesema he is from Michigan and has has a crew of cool kids helping him make the sound that “paints a vivid picture of midwest youth”. I like that image and I think that they do it well. I was not a midwest youth (I was a New York youth), but I am currently a midwest young adult which is not the same thing but close enough that I feel the camaraderie. You should give this EP a listen because it’s real, honest, beautifully executed, and has a really nice sound. There is also a cello. This collection of songs is easy to listen to, but difficult to really grasp. There is a lot in these well-curated coming of age songs.
The first notes of the album are some mellow organ sounds. Van Reesema’s voice is cool and sweet. The tune is a little bluesy. It feels like a summer evening. I like the lyrics. They’re poetic, but a little rough around the edges. They talk about cigarettes, mixed drinks, getting a buzz, being Christian, girls coming home with you, and saying the rosary.
“Midwest Grey” is about going for a ride in a truck through a cornfield with someone who you like well enough. You laugh, feel angst, smoke a pack of cigarettes and talk about quitting. This is all a memory. That person is those cigarettes. “And I’ll try and quit next week.” The title refers to the color of the sky which is the exact shade that it has been for most of our midwest summer (which never actually arrived).
I wish that this EP was longer. It is only five tracks, I wish that it was more. More for me to listen to, more for me to tell you about. I’ll tell you about one more, and then you should go check them all out for yourself and add them to your collection of amazing music. In “City Lights”, van Reesema is joined by Miss Lottie Prenevost. Their voices do not sound like they should go together at all. They feel like voices that you found in the thrift store. They’re both great finds, but don’t appear to match. Then, BAM!, they harmonize so perfectly that it gives me shivers. This track is nostalgic, it is beautiful. I’m not going to tell you about the words on purpose because go listen.
I like this band. I like Freddy’s lyrics and voice. I like the people who he has. I love the cello, the bass, the keyboard, and guitars. I like the poetic nostalgia of the lyrics. These guys just cancelled their tour, but I hope that they get some things rescheduled. I would like to see them live. I think that this EP has been one of my favorite things to cross my path. I greatly anticipate their next project.