I loved Crushed Out from the moment I heard them. The fuzzy guitars, off-kilter beats, and at the center of it all, Frank Hoier’s ownership of the mic. The last time I covered Crushed Out here at 50thirdand3rd was their album Stay Wild Gator Child back in 2018. The most striking thing about the record was their growth as artists and how it differed from their previous work. The band has since called it quits but Hoier wasn’t done there. As Frankie Sunswept, Hoeir started an ambitious project where he wrote, recorded, and released a song every single month. Now teaming up with Romanus Records, all those songs have been compiled into a single album, aptly titled Turning.
After the dissolution of Crushed Out, Hoeir moved from California to Queens, NY. This began his journey of self-discovery and experimentation. With his vow to write and record a song each month, one would think the output would be rushed, quaint, and simple by design based on time restraints. However, Turning is far more spacious and spacey than anything Crushed Out ever recorded! Although I can’t speak for Frankie Sunswept or Frank Hoeir as an artist or a person, I can clearly see the deadline encouraged the creative process to be fast and loose instead of cheap and mass-produced.
This is apparent in the album’s opener “Turning Toward Me”. Things begin with a droning open-tuned guitar before evolving into a 60s-esque psychedelic romp. This vibe continues well into the second track “This Bleeding Heart” before melting away into a blue-eyed soul jam as if Wilco meets Father John Misty. “Longing” takes a slight turn into yacht rock territory and “Light Of Heart” makes me think of Gilbert O’ Sullivan if he was laced with LSD. As you can already tell, Turning is a coat of many colors and Frankie Sunswept is by no means a one-trick pony.
Outside of folk, soul, and psychedelica, Turning showcases Hoier’s range as an artist and a subtle hint of vulnerability. “See Through” is a heartbreaking reflection wrapped up in an unexpected neo-country package. “Married In My Mind” takes the country aesthetic even further and sounds like a song that would’ve burned up the charts in the early 60s. My favorite track “Fantasy” closes out the album with yet another plot twist, the flavor of new romantic sophisti-pop.
It wouldn’t be a Romanus Records release if there weren’t a slew of variants to pick up on vinyl! Turning is no different! In addition to splatter and tri-color variants, there is also an extremely limited glow in the dark sand-filled variant! Yes, you read that right. A record filled with sand that glows in the dark. If that doesn’t match the psychedelic elements of Frankie Sunswept’s career, I don’t know what can!
Regardless if you’re collecting vinyl or just want something cool to listen to, Frankie Sunswept succeeds on multiple levels. It’s weird, fun, sad, and beautiful but most importantly, it’s the kind of album that won’t stray too far from your turntable.
Turning is available on limited edition vinyl exclusively from Romanus Records.