by Jon Hadusek (@jhadusek)
Cast in a pastoral haze of fading frames and hallucinatory images, there’s a calming psyched-out beauty to the video for “The Cardamom Waves” — the lead single from Devin Frank’s debut solo album, The Vanishing Blues. It opens with Devin himself sitting in near darkness, sipping a mysterious tea that surely isn’t mere cardamom chai. He drifts into a dream of smoldering herbs and smiling faces, all distorted and slightly twisted. And those faces are sipping the weird tea, as well. It’s a full on drug party of the mind. What better way to trip than with your imaginary friends? Everybody is having a good time.
As the dose hits, the song builds from its sparse intro. Devin’s music falls somewhere between the fluty folk of Donovan, Neil Young when he shreds, and the homespun sentiment of the lo-fi ’90s. The song is paced by hand percussion and subtle tom-snare interplay, giving room for Frank’s climactic soloing and sincere ramblings about cinnamon dust, porridge, and whether or not this land is really all for us (if only). Meanwhile, the visuals feed off the triumph of the musical arrangement. Instead of losing control, Devin grows ponderous. He picks up his guitar. Steph Foley’s powerful backing vocals cut like a knife. To a galloping outro, Devin makes peace with his friends. Maybe they aren’t so imaginary at all? The video ends on with a symbolic shot of him with a parakeet on his shoulder. As it flies away, he smiles an honest smile. The good trip has a way of wringing things out for all their peace, warmth, and comfort.
The Vanishing Blues drops July 15th via Cartouche Records, and pre-orders are ongoing. The Devin Frank Vanishing Blues Band plays the Cartouche Records Showcase tomorrow at Daytrotter in Davenport, IA before heading out on a Midwest tour in support of the album.
July 22 Des Moines, IA - Vaudeville Mews
July 23 Iowa City, IA - Governor's Mansion
July 24 Ames, IA - DG's Tap
July 25 Omaha, NE - Milk Run
July 26 Minneapolis, MN - Message band for address
July 27 Madison, WI - The Frequency (w/ Mothers)
July 28 Chicago, IL - Louder House
July 29 St. Louis, MO - San Loo
July 30 Columbia, MO - Cafe Berlin