We're only over halfway through, but this is probably going to be the album of the year. Frank brings real artistry and vision to his music with a dark romanticism and sexuality, and there's really nothing quite like it.
Favorite track: Housing Alcove.
No Longer is a suite of six absorbing, patient reveries on conflicted concupiscence and encroaching darkness by Berkeley songwriter Frank Ene, who composed the material in a period of solitude following the demise of his noise-pop group Pure Bliss. Ene abstained from socializing to write the songs, venturing outside mostly to work in the basement of a frame-shop or observe students on the nearby UC Berkeley campus, vintage self-help paperbacks stuffed in his pockets. When it came time to record, he opted to play nearly every instrument himself. “Some songs are affirmations,” he said. “The saddest ones I can’t remember writing, as if someone entered my mind and body in a really brutal way.”
Suffused with an atmosphere of slow-simmering tension, No Longer traffics in understated grooves reminiscent of latter-era Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds, with Ene’s rich voice somehow sounding at once wispy and full-bodied. “Flesh in the Womb,” one of the songs to feature songwriter and Fresh & Onlys guitarist Wymond Miles, channels the lasciviousness of Serge Gainsbourg as well as the beguiling sparseness of Dean Blunt. The lyrics to “Housing Alcove,” a crushing meditation on childhood trauma, reveal competing, interconnected feelings of vulnerability and ambition (a duality captured by the evocative album art). A dynamic, repeat listen, No Longer stands among the most musically arresting and emotionally contoured Bay Area solo debuts in recent memory.
- Sam Lefebvre
released July 10, 2020
All songs written by Frank Ene
Produced by: Jacob Winik & Frank Ene
Additional Production: Wymond Miles
Engineered & Mixed by Jacob Winik
Additional Mixing: Johnny Goss
Mastered by Bijan Sharifi
Recorded at Tiny Telephone
Frank Ene: Vocals, Guitar, Acoustic Guitar, Baritone Guitar, Drum Machine, Percussion, Piano
Wymond Miles: Guitar
Adrianne deLanda: Vocals
Ivar Diehl: Saxophone
Album Photography by James Cromwell Holden
Design by Andrew Connors