Thirty-One is an interesting age. At thirty-one I was dealing with the death of my mother and welcoming my first child into the world. It was a time of forced adulting. For Martin Frawley of Twerps fame, his debut solo album Undone At 31 is a purging of his thirty-first year which saw the end of a long term relationship.
Undone At 31 is representative of Frawley’s attempts to turn over a new leaf both personally and musically. Designed to be played in order, the eleven song track list lyrically expresses a story of a man figuring stuff out and finding his way. Although it focuses on the oft used theme of broken relationships it does so in a versatile manner. Written by Frawley, Undone At 31 contains simple, uncomplicated and straight to the point lyrics something he has become known for. Where he diverges from his previous band and demonstrates the new path being taken is with the overall sound and recording process.
Frawley’s use of a variety of instruments including the violin and Moog on the exceptional Something About Me, and Fender Rhodes and lap steel on Where The Heart Is Together with the layering of these instruments and others is evident in a myriad of the songs which serves to add a level of complexity to the lyrical simplicity. Together this combination creates eleven songs that are unique, that complement each other and are extremely enjoyable to listen to. What is particularly wonderful about Undone At 31 is Frawley’s foray into numerous musical genres all the while maintaining a distinct sound that is his own.
The album has a palpable flow to it. From the spoken word opening track of You Want Me through to track number six, the current single, Chain Reaction with its 90’s alt-pop sound, the tempo is upbeat and poppy. From track seven, You Can’t Win, through to the conclusion, the tempo begins to slow supplementing the melancholy theme. While the first half of the album is loosely reminiscent of a Kurt Vile sound, the second half is softer, dreamier à la Air with Come Home and Julee Cruise with Where the Heart Is. When listened to in order and in one sitting it integrates seamlessly creating a succinct story.
Frawley successfully steps away from his past and stamps his own mark on the world with Undone At 31 and he does so with both passion and uniqueness ultimately creating a truly wonderful listening experience.
Album Review by Anita Kertes