Music Reviews
Andy Frasco & the UN

Andy Frasco & the UN

Change of Pace

Republic of Music

Brothers and sisters, do you believe? Come down front and testify! The spirit is in the house and Andy Frasco has to preach the gospel!

Well, you’re right, we’re not in a tent out by the river. We’re in a dive bar downtown. The gospel that Andy is preaching, well it’s pretty darn secular. Still, you listen to the guys as the ramp it up and you can’t help but want to join them in a celebration of being alive.

Change of Pace marks a transition for Andy Frasco. His music has always been a wild raver’s mash of blues, rock and soul. In the past, Andy has been happy being the smart ass. He’s celebrated irresponsible things like going to AA meets to find folks to get drunk with. On this album, Frasco has come to the realization that he’s not getting any younger and he can’t be the poster boy for the rock and roll lifestyle forever. On Change of Pace, Frasco keeps the party going while changing the focus from party hard to celebrating connections to other people.

The song, “Change of Pace” starts out slow intro with Andy confessing he’s ready for a change. The song almost fades to an end, then the organ swells and suddenly, we’re in a full bore gospel revival. Frasco sings about settling down and buying with verve and swagger. He sings about domesticity like it’s a wild and exotic adventure. For a guy who’s spent a lot of his life paying one-night stands, maybe it is exotic.

A theme that keeps cropping up on this album is that love and relationships are hard work. “Up/Down” is a soul ballad about the bipolar nature of a relationship. The song is about a guy trying to figure out how to be in a real relationship for the first time. “Waiting Game” returns to the revival tent with Andy declaring, “I’m tired of being labeled. I’m tired of being outcast … I want to be the man you come home to.” Singing that love is a waiting game, Frasco embraces the notion that love is something that takes time. “Can’t Force Love” further develops this idea in a slow soul ballad. Andy sings about that ambiguous, getting to know you period saying, “are you insecure, babe? Well, me too.”

When he isn’t amazing himself taking a mature approach to relationship, Andy is running a bar room self improvement seminar. “Somedays” is a casual, walking blues about aspiring to be a good person (I want to be your rock, your Saturday cartoon) and not letting setbacks drag you down. “The Walk” sums up this theme with another gospel infused rave up. Frasco leads the back room congregation with the affirmation/aspiration to “walk a little taller, feel a little stronger.”

The most powerful song on the record is also the quietest. “Let Your Mind Be Free” is a stripped down piano ballad offering hope and reassurance. I can relate when Andy sings. “You can keep building a wall, four sides tall, so no one calls. Crawl in a hole instead of dialing the phone. Convincing yourself that you’re all alone.” I’ve been there and I know a lot of others who have too. I hope somewhere, someone hears this song at just the right moment. I hope they hear this when they think things are beyond redemption. I hope they hear Andy’s assurance that you’re not alone. I hope they take his advice and they “speak up when you need a friend.”

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