The Sweet Songs of Decay
Sincere Recordings/In Music We Trust
When I received Frank Bango’s fourth album, The Sweet Songs of Decay, in the mail, I had absolutely no idea what to expect. The cover shows Bango in front of a backdrop that would be perfect for senior pictures, sitting next to someone in an Alice in Wonderland-esque bunny suit with an arm around Bango. Then I read the titles of the songs on the album and I had to listen to it right then and there. What I heard is one of the best albums of this decade in any genre.
“Don’t Be a Shy Nurse” is a soothing lullaby about comforting someone in a time of need, with the beautiful chorus, “Don’t be a shy nurse/ Please understand/ Don’t take your hand/ Away from my hand.” Then Bango wakes you up with the rockabilly “International Sign for Sorry.”
Bango deftly goes from softly contemplative (the gorgeous “If a Plane Goes Down” and self-examining “Bunny in a Bunny Suit”) to upbeat when thinking of a distant friend in “Angela Eagleton and giving dresses a personality in “Summerdress,” which is infinitely better than Bruce Springsteen’s “Girls in Their Summer Clothes.”
Bango may not be well-known, but he has performed with some very well-known artists including Ryan Adams, Richard Buckner, The Pernice Brothers, and Nancy Sinatra — at her request. He may not release albums often, (four in 14 years) but he makes them count, as every one is praised by both critics and artists alike.
The Sweet Songs of Decay is flat-out brilliant. It’s sparse, but cuts right to the heart of pain, love, loss, and life in general. This is an absolute must-hear for anyone who loves well-written songs that last for generations.
Frank Bango: www.frankbango.com