The innocence in voice, the tone of a troubadour. Julius Frank is just making his debut, but deliberates his moments through music like a true artist would. His album is called Elsinore, an ode to master songwriters like Paul Simon & Bob Dylan, but through the eyes of a contemporary that hasn’t refrained from dreaming.
Walk through the chords
Elsinore begins with Gargoyles & Saints. Using a simple fingerpicking pattern, Julius uses minimal instruments and strings to aid flight in this song. The bare accents in the ambience of the song is what should be focused on, simple yet effective. His voice barely strains, yet the register is comforting and honest.
Singing for a muse, Elsinore’s second track is Aurora. To push the voice through, Julius manages to just rustle the strings for the melody. The focus on the acoustic makes sure the verses are the ones that stand out, his surreal lyrics at play with your psyche. An enticing song with pretty lyrics.
Untainted Graces sees Julius Frank strumming for the change in pace. With your fingers, like flamingoes/ Through fore of mystic places brings his Dali like vision to life. Julius uses references of art to draw similes between the representation. Truly a painting described by words. The mild strings in the background keep the delicate sound heard with the intended simplicity.
Experimenting with tone
Comin’ Thru The Rye has a true folk chord structure that encourages nostalgic waves taking over the thought. The raw, unpolished voice makes it much more personal, his stories a novel of experiences which repurpose themselves. Introducing the electric guitar with the clean tone in verses make it a highlight. Strings during the chorus draw attention, keeping it like a flowing river.
Milk White Stallion transcends all genres. It is a slow ballad, with the acoustic instruments working in perfect harmony as Julius croons with his strained vocals. As they stretch in the higher parts, the vocals vibrate to display emotion that would be difficult to hear with excess production work. Very well placed for the album, and the quality of the track.
Ophelia demonstrates the fragility and naivete in Hamlet. This character has often been portrayed, from the Lumineers track to the film in 2019. In the Arms of Ophelia is Julius’ version of this picturesque character. With an intoxicating chord structure, the song is a melancholy respite for Julius, an emotional journey that transcends the notes of this song. Executed with controlled yet masterful passion.
Once again focusing on the lyrics, Sunken Galleys sees Julius Frank use the instruments to accompany. This style is popular with many indie artists, yet a hollow song that has not been worked upon makes it feel like a cop out. The amount of detail in the vocals and the chorus section having the choir harmonies is what makes this song stand out. Not hiding behind anything, just the perils of plain sight.
The majesty of songwriting
Tales of Chivalry is the most Bob Dylan style song in this album. The tale is sung with soft strumming, descriptive and rich in many ways. The piano parts are a welcome accent here as well, trying to peek through the vocals. The organ entering in parts create a suspense and add great gravitas to Julius’ voice.
Run Away has an interesting fingerpicking pattern that rumbles through in rhythm. The poetic illustrations are Julius’ strongest suit, making it a refreshing shift in tonal priority. The choice of holding just simple chords and accompaniments make each song a focus of these sonnets that Julius sings.
Closing with a change
Perfection in closing. It is a scary thing to add a track which doesn’t veer in the effects of others in an album. But to close with it might be a bigger risk. The Bon Iver vibe of this track makes it a shuffle of styles while showing the range of genres and tones that Julius can chase. Elsinore is a rich track with synths, his signature guitar and a steady drum beat to close out this wonderful album. It is a mélange of emotions you might not generally feel, so proceed with caution in listening to this journal of dreams.