Songwriter and Fellaheen mastermind Bruce Hanson still has that indefinable “it” seven releases into his career. Calling to mind a meeting between the Bones Howe-era Tom Waits and the post-Bones Howe-era Tom Waits, Death andFrolic is as dark and turbulent as it is bright and uplifting.
Hanson’s best work here includes “Isle of the Moon”, the Weil-ish “Karma’s Dog”, and the decidedly—and unexpectedly—raucous “All the Birds (Will Nest in Your Hair”), the album’s penultimate number. The whole affair shuts down with “Red River Valley”, a loving nod to Hanson’s late father. Light, sweet, and sincere, it perfectly exemplifies the artist’s full emotional scope and beautifully caps off Death and Frolic.