Frontier Folk Nebraska (FFN), are comprised of four guys. Four guys that bring a brand of rock n’ roll that is a hodge-podge of so many styles that they make it sound easy. FREAKS is their latest recorded album that came out on Black Friday, and before that I had the pleasure of listening to it early and often. There isn’t much to say about these fellas and this band that probably hasn’t been said already, but I was truly honored to get to spend time with this album and to continually do so. Michael Hensley (vocals and guitar), Mook (bass), Travis Talbert (guitar), and Elijah Batson (drums) give Frontier Folk Nebraska the sounds that stereos and boomboxes, and people really enjoy.
FREAKS is an actual album. An album that from start to finish is truly meant to be an album. For example, you could start reading a book in the middle but then you miss all the stuff at the beginning. And if you were to do that with FREAKS you would miss the prologue. You would miss what I think is at the core of this record, the Freaks, the artists, and to give a nod to FFN “the kids in the back.” Or with more eloquence just start at track one aptly named Freaks Prologue, sit back, and enjoy the ride. But, if all the album did was give us a prologue then it would still be great, however it did no
The half hour that follows is a fuzz worthy daydream of skating rink rock n’ roll that like all of the FFN records is a refreshing sound. Whether it is Mike’s falsetto or Travis’ falsetic guitar solos this record hits all the proverbial notes that any FFN lifer will love. For the person new to FFN this is a great record to start with. As again there is no grand change from the sound, no experimentation that didn’t work, or something strange that with close to seven albums released would make you say, “why’d they do that?” And if while listening to this album and if I did have a question, it wouldn’t be why instead it would be how.
With the record out now, we can all lay our ears on it and see what it does. What I love about FREAKS and what I love about FFN is the channeling of some inner 1970’s rock n’ roll. Or, what I perceive as that when I listen, but more than that it’s the blending of genres and styles that shows their musicianship. And, equal to all of this are Mike’s lyrics and voice, and the lyrics in general. This album seemingly written for the outcasts, or misfits, the kids that don’t fit in with the majority. Maybe it is because I see myself in those lyrics that makes me appreciate this album so much. Because, for the first time in a long while I had this feeling resonate within me of recognizing that kid. Frontier Folk Nebraska created a thirty-nine-minute audio appetizer. It certainly left me wanting more, but if the length is the only knock, well that’s fine by me because it more than makes up for it within those thirty-nine minutes.