The album “Spiral” by Casey Frensz delivers a unique sound. This multi-instrumentalist and music educator from Minneapolis, MN, blends musical tone, melody and vocal harmonizing perfectly. The clean guitar and keyboard driven tunes mesh well with the vocals, the funky rhythms and the jazzy brass interludes. Casy may have a firm grasp on rock and folk history, but he never plays to their record collection.
Rather than revive a particular scene or re-create a lost sound, Frensz takes his ideas from a broad spectrum of styles, pulling in folk, classic rock, country, jazz, blues pop to create a personal synthesis of the music of his peers, their parents, and even their grandparents.
What follows is surprisingly full and wide ranging. For all the album’s winding paths and unexpected vistas, Casey Frensz’s melodies remain the primary draw, and his written and arranged these songs to showcase this aspect together with the harmonies. His arrangements can be mellow and heartwarming as on, “The Truth”, as well as upbeat and crunchy, as on “Another Day”.
The experimental aspect of the music and the unique instrumentation has that feel of finding just the right tool to construct a particular desired effect. Casey Frensz’s hit me as refreshing and new and yet strangely familiar and the styles fit in just as well if it had come from the 70’s or today, with even some nods towards the Renaissance-era.
I hear so many recognizable influences, and still the whole becomes something completely unique, a greater sum of its parts than each individual contribution.
Ultimately “Spiral” has no boundaries or limits musically, and though each track is well-thought out and arranged, I kept hearing fleeting moments of improvisation. The music could almost be described as “baroque harmonic pop jams”, which is pretty accurate except for the jam part which brings to mind those long, aimless and barely melodic exercises in ego-stroking which clearly this isn’t.
Like something plucked from an ancient monastery, music that feels like it was untouched by modern pop. And yet, many of the songs are memorable and accessible. Casey Frensz is a gorgeous-sounding, multi-talented artist with a heart that writes songs which will have you joyously nodding your head along with them, grateful that priceless music like this exists today…songs that haunt you deliciously long after they’re over.