For a World That Should Listen

Public relations people hope against hope to have their product hit the word-of-mouth circuit. Why? Because it works. Frente!, a hot young group from Australia, was thus sent my way by friend and regular contributor David Batstone who lived in community eight years ago with the now 20- year-old lead singer, Angie Hill. This is too good to be true, even for PR types. Thanks, David, for this early and hot tip.

Ah, To Be Young and Astute

Frente!’s Marvin the Album is an entertaining recording. Listeners likely first will notice Hill’s vocals, and that’s what might leave the longest impressions too. But there is much more to cull from this young band. Thoughtful, if sometimes cryptic, lyrics match Hill’s airy voice. Add in intentially lean instrumentation (demonstrating a surprising amount of confidence for a young band) and you have a recipe for success.

The recording opens with "Girl," an unpredictable anthem to the pressures of self-discovery. A gentle and memorable piano line supports Hill’s quiet insights. "A girl is a verb/a whirl of colour/In doing she’s being/she never thought she was thinking/anything you could."

"Labour of Love," the first song off the album to catch substantial airtime, tackles a theme reflected in many of the tunes—the challenge of being young and in love in the ’90s. We are all invited inside the intimate thoughts and fears of a lover who wants to trust. "Am I fooling you?/Do you fall for it/or do you just see right through?/Are you as cool as you believe?/Are you playing hard?/Are you waiting just to quietly clock my card?/Are you waiting for a moment to leave?"

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Sojourners Magazine August 1994
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