Set to be released on September 2nd, The Frightnrs first full length LP for Daptone Records, “Nothing Left to Say,” is a testament. It is a testament to the belief that the classic sound of Jamaican Rocksteady, when treated with the utmost respect and devotion, can be reimagined to speak to a new generation. It is a testament to the powerful forces that can be unleashed when a strong aesthetic is pursued through the relationship of a band, a record label and a producer. And finally it is a testament to the creative genius, as both songwriter and vocalist, of Frightnrs lead singer, Dan Klein who passed away in June 2016 after being diagnosed with ALS in November of 2015.
The Frightnrs “Nothing More To Say” is a true collaboration between the band, black belt producer and arranger Victor Axelrod aka Ticklah and Daptone Records. In 2015, Daptone released the Frightnrs cover version of the Etta James classic “I’d Rather Go Blind” to great acclaim. The single stayed true to the soulful roots of Jamaican Rocksteady (a revered genre that famously appeared in Jamaica in 1967 and had petered out by late 1968 yielding some of the greatest Jamaican music ever made) while imbuing the genre with a crisp energy that casts away any overtures to imitation or nostalgia. Daptone had long wanted to make a full length Rocksteady LP with Victor Axelrod at the helm and The Frightnrs were the band to do it. “Rocksteady was the first style of Jamaican music that Dan and me fell in love with,” explains Frightnrs keyboardist Chuck Patel, “and the idea of making a classic album for a classic label like Daptone was a dream come true.”
The band immediately set to work, writing and playing every day, and coming up with some of the most beautiful and complex songs they had ever done. Working within Daptone’s time frame and the constraints of crafting only rocksteady tunes, forced the Frightnrs to display a singular focus to great benefit. As Victor Axelrod says “The fact that the direction of the album was determined by it being a DAPTONE record was crucial. We wanted to make a solid and cohesive record and so chose songs that most fit the Daptone aesthetic and the result was the best music that Dan and the Frightnrs had ever made with truly expanded levels of creativity.”
When they hit the studio with Victor, the songs that make up “Nothing More to Say” began to flow. With the exception of two soul covers (both from the Daptone catalog: Bob & Gene’s “Gotta Find a Way” and Saun and Starr’s “Gonna Make Time”,) the record is populated by original compositions of the highest order. They are simply great songs, and though the songs stick to the rocksteady sound, each one of them has the melodic and lyrical substance to hold it’s own in any genre. “Till Then” invokes the coquettish hyper-rhymes of top-form Smokey Robinson, while “Hey Brother” sounds like it fell off the desk of Gamble and Huff, and “Purple” defies any comparison at all. From the first cracking snares of “All My Tears” through the final pulsing echoes of “Dispute,” the murderous rhythms of Rich Terrana (drums,) and brothers Preet and Chuck Patel (bass and piano, respectively) can be heard chunking mercilessly towards oblivion as Dan Klein pours his endearing poetry over the top like some other-worldly falsetto potion. The combination is a sound birthday-suit raw — mesmerizing, infectious, and above all, lovely. This record will long be treasured by lovers of Jamaican music, lovers of soul and anyone who has ever loved the bittersweet pain of being in love. The Frightnrs were formed in 2010 in the borough of Queens – far beyond the gilded wealth of Manhattan and the pretentious hipsterdom of Brooklyn. The four piece ensemble took the cooled out vintage vibes of Jamaican rock steady, combined it with the raw energy and vocal stylings of 80s Rub A Dub and added a touch of punk rock spirit to create an entirely unique sound that redefines what a reggae band can sound like. For the past seven years, The Frightnrs have been one of the hardest working bands in New York, crafting their live set and developing their sound in the DIY underground of NYC reggae and its mosh up of live bands and sound system culture. Their hard work paid off as The Frightnrs debut release garnered attention and airplay from reggae / radio legend David “Ram Jam” Rodigan and Mad Decent’s Diplo, who released a Frightnrs EP on his Mad Decent imprint in the Summer of 2015. With “Nothing More to Say,” being released in September 2016, The Frightnrs have issued a brilliant final testament to their late lead singer Dan Klein, and will continue to go forward, representing the sound of now standing firm on the traditions of the past.