Liam Frost is the ultimate musical puzzle master. We Ain’t Got Money, Honey, But We Got Rain is a 1000 piece jigsaw of genres, tempos, metaphors and clichés. Frost has created an album which is utterly confusing yet immensely intriguing. Here we have a man with the lyrical drama of Connor Oberst who sounds a bit like a Gallagher brother. Madness, yet oddly it works.
Of course like the works of Connor Oberst you shouldn’t take Frost’s lyrics too seriously. They are full of dead metaphors, emotiveness and a rather large batch of clichés. For instance, Two Hearts, a song so overfilled with metaphors it’s practically drowning in them. Take the line, “we are the architects of our own disasters but never would two hearts have beaten faster”, it’s hardly poetry at its most original or best, Frost is a clear fan of rhyming at all costs no matter how cringe-worthy they come across.
But that is not to say every lyric Frost has written is particularly bad – at times he shows the working of a lyrical genius. Again in Two Hearts, between the cheese and cliché he comes out with the line “I’ve been chasing your ghost across the black and white notes” a simple yet effectively beautiful way to describe writing songs about a past love. It is times like these that this album shows hints of the lyrical mastery that this 22 year old could achieve in more mature years to come.
The main problem with this album is that at first listen you’re left with that ‘what the fudge’ feeling. Frost really does mash and contort as many genres as possible into its songs. Pop, punk, indie even big band Frank Sinatra type swing. This album sees it all. Your Hand In Mine, by far the album’s weakest track, is a train crash of fast drums and horns mixed with intense lyrics – which at such a fast tempo are crushed together without any real breathing space. Enough to give anyone a headache.
Similarly the albums opening track Held Tightly In Your Fist is another too-fast song, although not quite a train crash like the last – think more a bicycle crash. Fortunately this song mixes fast with slow and it is these slower parts that Frost shows the potential of being a great recording artist. Taking his time works best with Frost’s voice and lyrics making him sound like a British Jason Mraz but with a little less jazz and more added indie-pop spunk.
Tracks Shipwrecks, Skylark Avenue and Orchestra Of Love are thankfully slowed right down. And all the better for it. Here the music and lyrics seamlessly join and complement each other. But this doesn’t mean the songs lose any of their power. In Shripwrecks the snare drum backs every word amazingly and Frost’s voice is stronger than on any other track. Easily the best song on the album, it echoes the sheer talent and epicness of bands like Brand New. This song alone should be enough to win you over.
Clearly this is an album of two halves. Some of it being nothing more than mediocre pop but at times Liam Frost shows that in songs like Shipwrecks and Skylark Avenue his talent could potentially be limitless. Realistically this isn’t the greatest album of the year but given the chance it’s a real grower and definitely worth the trouble of a few listens.