Fast & Loose
BIG STIR RECORDS is thrilled to announce the September 19 release of FAST & LOOSE, the new album from Croydon, England-based musical Renaissance man NICK FRATER! The new record (his fifth “proper” album) will be issued worldwide on CD and digital formats, and is available for pre-0rder at www.bigstirrecords.com/store now. Apropos to its title, it's a full throttle collection brimming with the hooks, harmonies and sophisticated arrangements his fans have come to expect, and bubbling with a freshness and energy that'll captivate new listeners immediately as one of the UK's best-kept secrets steps onto a wider international stage.
The follow up to 2019’s critically acclaimed Full Fathom Freight-Train, Nick Frater’s latest album Fast & Loose was written and recorded in a burst of creativity in the weeks leading up to and following becoming a dad. “It might sound unexpected, but spending many hours each day rocking and singing to a baby is actually a great way to write songs!” says Frater. The result is a collection of 11 hook-filled power-pop songs. Fans of Jellyfish, Cheap Trick, and The Beach Boys will find much to love here, but it's Frater's own personality and mastery of melody and arrangement that'll hook them for good.
The new record leaves the gate with the title track, a rollicking retro-flavored instrumental showcasing Frater's period-perfect mastery of '60s and '70s sounds, and then barrels straight into a pair of rockers that set the tone. Lead single “Let's Hear It For Love” shows off Frater's love of Todd Rundgren to great effect, and “Luna” keeps the energy up with a delirious stew of organ, guitar and harmonies over a stomping beat. Both would be perfectly at home atop the radio charts half a century ago but also bear the distinctive stamp of Frater's best work. From there it's into the lovely Pet Sounds-inflected “That Ship Has Sailed” and the pitch-perfect ballad “Moonstruck”, both showcasing an attention to production and arrangement detail that does nothing to dull their immediacy.
And things kick back up to an appropriately jittery level of energy with “Cocaine Gurls” (with its also-appropriate namedrops of Steely Dan, Talking Heads and Stevie Nicks) and “So Now We're Here”, evoking the garage-leaning sides of The Zombies or The Cyrkle with its fierce keyboards and rich harmonies. “California Waits” pairs a giddy textbook power pop vibe with the surprise of an insistent accordion (oh, it works!) but it's the next tune, “Would You Like To Go?” that nails the LA sound, seemingly rolling all eras of The Beach Boys into one rocking instant classic. The stately, lushly-orchestrated 6/8 yearning of “Buy You Time” brings FAST & LOOSE to an impassioned crescendo and the lovely “Endless Summertime Blues” serves as its tender conclusion.
Recorded very ‘fast & loose’ in Frater’s home studio, FAST & LOOSE features guest appearances from many of his friends in the pop rock scene including Spygenius, The Stan Laurels, Whelligan, Emperor Penguin, Super 8, Do Me Bad Things and a blistering solo from ex-Tokyo Dragons guitarist Steve Lowe. The guest roster will come as no surprise to followers of Nick's reciprocal work as a producer, live sideman (including recent UK gigs with the current edition of Love) and the impresario behind his own Great Sheiks Music imprint... he's the kind of team player we love here at BSR, our Nick!
Unknown to Frater at the time, the striking cover image was taken at a photoshoot where everyone was exposed to Covid 19 and had to self-isolate; a few days later the U.K. locked down completely. “There’s probably a metaphor to be found in wrapping your head in cling film and play-doh on the last day of the old world” says Frater, “but God only knows what it might be!” We can say that having Nick in the crazy world that followed has made it better: he would go on to complete and release the unique and fascinating 59 Vignettes project, a pandemic-era daily collection of just what the title implies in the form of one-minute mini-compositions that enlightened those early quarantine days, before putting the finishing touches on FAST & LOOSE. And naturally... he's already working ahead toward another collection for 2021. We're all in for all of it, and we're certain you will be, too.
For more on NICK FRATER, see: