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Donavon Frankenreiter

Recycled Recipes

(Lost Highway; US: 21 Aug 2007; UK: 6 Aug 2007)

The latest from the bearded surfie troubadour is a good old covers EP. Donavon Frankenreiter, whose sophomore album Move By Yourself came out last year, doesn’t seem to mind the Ben Harperisms or the mild derision singing so earnestly about love engenders. In fact, his on-record persona’s so laid-back you sometimes lose his artistic presence altogether. It’s not a great setup for an EP that aims to breathe new, different life into a series of easily recognizable tunes. Bob Dylan’s classic “Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright” is illustrative: in Frankenreiter’s hands it becomes a signature, sweet love song, which make you slightly uneasy because it’s too down pat, too simplified: love conquers all in his world, but you want to rebut: perhaps he should think twice. Similarly, takes on Wilco and Creedence Clearwater Revival, while charming in its smooth-voiced, acoustic campfire-style balladry, are a little ill-conceived as interpretations of the source material. When heard live, Wilco’s “Theologians” (from A Ghost is Born) is full of mess and power, doubt brought forward through the rising guitar noise and Jeff Tweedy’s emotive voice. And “Fortunate Son” requires defiance, the growl and pointed guitars of the original, to get its point across. Frankenreiter’s songs—covers or originals—are always pleasant to listen to. But this project never exceeds that niceness. Unfortunately, if you’re looking for some vital new take on these six rock classics, you won’t find it here.


Dan Raper has been writing about music for PopMatters since 2005. Prior to that he did the same thing for his college newspaper and for his school newspaper before that. Of course he also writes fiction, though his only published work is entitled "Gamma-secretase exists on the plasma membrane as an intact complex that accepts substrates and effects intramembrane cleavage". He is currently studying medicine at the University of Sydney, Australia.

Donavon Frankenreiter - It Don't Matter
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20 Aug 2008
Although Frankenreiter’s sound occasionally approximates Jack Johnson’s acoustic surfer-cool (especially in his vocal delivery), he most clearly distinguishes himself from his pal by the quality of sounds that support him.
8 Aug 2006
To put Frankenreiter's music in some perspective for you, he sounds like Ben Harper -- a lot like Ben Harper.
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