If you’re taking time out of your day right now to let an indie album run in full, on a whim of a hope that it might take your breath away, Frequency by Italy’s Downflyers is categorically a gamble that pays off.
Highlighting absolute versatility and talent as a band, both from a songwriting and performance perspective, this collection is sensational from start to finish. Each song is nothing like you’ll expect, yet everything you’re likely to love if you’ve ever been drawn in by the alt-rock and indie acts who shake up the scene from time to time.
Introducing the reverb-soaked bang of an industrial drum, melodically meandering synth notes, and additional layers of retro, sci-fi-like detail and delicacy – Frequencies kicks things off with an ambiently dark and mysterious hit of intrigue.
Soon enough though, the true creative freedom and energy of the band kicks in, as a fast-paced punk-pop-kissed Heartbeat takes the reigns. Here we see doubled vocals come into play, and instrumental weight contrasted by vocal softness and lyrical reflections on intimacy and optimism.
Power-chords and a brilliant drum sound continue to lead the way, as emotive and relatable vocals lay bare the intentions of the writing and offer listeners a sense of possibility and drive.
A poetic and gorgeously hypnotic Obey! follows and injects a mighty sense of rising anticipation once again. A personal favorite, the use of contrast between minimalism and absolute weight is superb, as is the band’s songwriting and unity as musicians. You get a strong impression early on that Downflyers are an act well worth looking our for as and when the live scenes return.
Showcasing further eclecticism, And his name is Anthem keeps the Downflyers vocal sound and set-up alive and well, but veers off into new and increasingly passionate territories, even displaying a somewhat Alanis-like structure, pace and vulnerability during the verses. Brilliantly crafted.
A quirky Times New Romance furthers the mood and uplifting energy with more creativity and weight combined. Then there’s the emo-kissed yet musically bright Funeral of me – powerful juxtaposition mastered once again. An absolute anthem, complete with chaotic, distorted synths and an immensely hypnotic outro that makes it difficult to sit still while listening.
Reminding us of the contemplative atmosphere of the opener, a short-lived We Won’t Be Afraid gives you pause and prompts consideration of the themes that unite these songs, right before an anthemic and again synth-heavy, EDM-rock-ready Bleeding Skies kicks in; offering perhaps one of the most recognizable songs on the project. We won’t be afraid resounds and echoes out for the final third.
The band forever throw in unexpected hits of passion and unpredictability. It’s a refreshing and genuine quality, and it helps make this one of the most engaging and interesting albums to emerge this year. Ideal for fans of Awolnation, Thirty Seconds to Mars, even POD, My Chemical Romance or Panic at the Disco – this album is mighty songwriting and euphoric rock musicianship consolidated.
The simple intimacy of a piano-led Silence rebuilds a connection with the singer and subject matter as a well-placed moment of calm, hope and oneness. Then we get the mainstream melodies and alternative dance chaos and beauty of The road so far (Don’t die here), a powerful crowd pleaser by all accounts, complete with fascinating imagery and scene setting that captivates.
Fantastic, what an album. Easily one worth more than a few spins this side of the summer. I look forward to hearing where else the music takes Downflyers in the future. Turn this up loud.