On ‘Always’, The Frightnrs Merge Tribute To Fallen Lead Singer Dan Klein With Timeless Rocksteady Grooves (ALBUM REVIEW)

Even before the release of The Frightnrs well received debut, 2016’s Nothing More To Say, the group was dealing with tragic loss as lead singer Dan Klein passed away from ALS. When the band re-entered the studio with producer Victor “Ticklah” Axelrod they used vocals Klein had previously laid down for a new album, the result is Always.

The Daptone release finds the rest of the band, Chuck Patel, Preet Patel, Norihiro Kikuta, and Richard Terrana, working with Ticklah to craft a stitched together tribute to their fallen lead singer. Kleins vocals are certainly at the forefront, at times echoing throughout with reverb or simply ooh’ing and aah’ing as the band uses a reggae pulse to push forward. 

Klein’s falsetto singing opens the stuttering title track to kick off the record with splashes of hip hop sprinkled in. The sticky reggae flow on “30-56” is direct and stout as the song is then backed up by an instrumental remix that warbles effectively. The Jamaican light ska of “Tuesday” moves the hips but Klein and company feel most assured on the sweet love song around skittering sounds of “Maybe Isle”, a complete effort. 

Perhaps the highlight track however is far from loving as “Profilin’” sounds straight out of Kingston circa 1965 and the title problem Klein passionately sings about is still prevalent today as the outfit delivers strong protest music. This song also gets an instrumental remix while Klein is the most fervent on “Expectations” as he pleads directly to a loved one as he knows he doesn’t have much time. 

“You, Still” bumps with wild laser sounds and expert vocals coursing through the same vein as the closing “Why Does It Feel Like A Curse” which is deeply layered and rich as the band rides along in tribute to their fallen friend. Klein had always wanted The Frightnrs to continue after he was gone, and they may in the future with new vocalists, but as it stands, Always is a fitting tribute to their original front man. 

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