Warren Franklin

Your Heart Belongs To The Midwest

Written by: PP on 27/12/2011 04:00:37

Regular readers will have seen me rant on about acoustic singer-songwriters lately who draw their primary influence from other, indie-flavored singer-songwriters and thus lack the edge and urgency required to make their songs sound interesting. Now here's an example of a dude who dares to stretch his voice to its outer limits, and offers plenty of variation both in terms of tempo, strumming, and vocal range to make things interesting. He goes by the name of Warren Franklin, and defines his style as 'emo campfire', which is like taking original emo music and transforming it into a casual acoustic format suitable for camping trips and the like. "Your Heart Belongs To The Midwest" is his sophomore album.

Franklin wastes no time on making the listener know that this isn't your typical wuss singer-songwriter with soothing calmness as the driving force. He starts singing with an attitude straight away, going for shouty vocals and slightly harder and more aggressive acoustic guitar strumming than you're used to hearing on this sort of albums. It's a lot like how Frank Turner sounded like on his first two albums, but without the frantic, break-all-strings style of punk-inspired guitar, and rather more like the passionate material from early Dashboard Confessional albums back when Chris Carrabba was alone in the band. In fact, put the early eras of those two together, and you have Warren Franklin and his new album: passionately emotional acoustic songs played with a swagger and enough urgency to make the listener lift an eyebrow on the first listen.

There's space for softer songs, too, but they are rare. While they are welcome variation on the album, it is the halfway screamed passages that show Warren Franklin at his most interesting, perhaps because it exposes his emotions in a particularly raw and revealing manner. There's also room for additional instruments, but these are used sparingly, such as trumpet on the album opener or the classical piano on "You Rue Lindsay". The majority of the time it's just one emotional guy who takes it out on his acoustic guitar. In its essence, "Your Heart Belongs..." is a good exhibit of how acoustic singer-songwriter stuff can sound interesting - and more importantly, rich - provided both the guitar and the singing show character and are done with passion. That is the case here, and though Franklin may not have produced a "Swiss Army Romance" or a "Sleep Is For The Week" here, "Your Heart Belongs" is still far better than most of the typical production in this genre.


Download: Bro Downs Know No Bounds, Your Heart Belongs To The Midwest
For the fans of: Frank Turner meets Dashboard Confessional
Listen: Facebook

Release date 14.06.2011
Count Your Lucky Stars

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