Down But Not Out
It's obvious from the opening strains of 'Goodbye,' the first track on 'DOWN . . . but not out,' that Frank Arricale is a hopeless romantic. Just as obvious is the fact that Frank is a first-rate songwriter with a gift for transforming his hopeless romanticism into compact, melodic works of art. 'Goodbye' and the thematically related 'Goodnight,' for example, are striking in the beauty of their simplicity. The eminently catchy 'Love in Continuous Waves' is a pop gem. It would be difficult to find a more genuine, touching treatment of mature love than 'Autumn,' and the powerful 'Breathtaking Love' is a classic of barely-contained torment. But on 'DOWN . . . but not out,' Frank goes well beyond the scope of the average hopeless romantic. He turns an ironic eye on life at the office--and on modern society generally--with 'I'm a Machine;' he skewers the world of advertising (or is it infotainment?) (or is it drug-pushing?) in 'Brain Candy;' and he still manages to find time to deal with time ('Perpetual Motion'), war ('Sunshine Water Air'), and the mind of God ('Queen of the Universe'). Not bad for a guy who has to devote most of his energy to holding down the rock and trying to keep Pandora's box shut. Throughout the album, the intimacy of the songs is enhanced by the independent-even-from-the-independents production. Performing all vocal and instrumental parts himself, Frank creates recordings that blend the feel of a demo with the precision of carefully-detailed arrangements. What results is unvarnished honesty. In short, 'DOWN . . . but not out' is a collection of intelligent, finely-crafted, highly personal songs, offered (in what would appear to be an ironically hopeful gesture on the part of it's creator) for the appreciation of hopeless romantics, hopeful romantics, and perhaps even hopeful non-romantics everywhere. Eat it up!