Frankie & the Deadbeats

The Possibility that Love is Not Enough

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Available on "Alien Blood" or blue/violet wax

The Bakersfield sound of twangy guitars. The pedal steel. The heavy drawl. The common signifiers of America’s country and western music are steeped in tradition and culled from the landscape, but there is also something rich and universal in those sounds, something that transcends borders. The timbres tie the sound to a place, but the real virtues in country music come from the storytelling, the approachable melodies, and the personal stamp on the well-honed template. On their debut album, The Shining, the Czech ensemble Frankie & the Deadbeats deftly paid homage to the sound of the American west while imbuing their music with Slavic fatalism and punk irreverence. The album garnered enough stateside attention for frontman Frankie Knuth to tour the eastern seaboard of the US with American songwriter Matt Charette, and with every live performance the Frankie & the Deadbeats have further refined their sound. On their new sophomore album, The Possibility That Love Is Not Enough, Frankie & the Deadbeats continue to explore the varied terrain of country music, tackling riotous two-steps, forlorn ballads, and rowdy anthems with the expertise of seasoned traveling troubadours.

The album cover for The Possibility That Love Is Not Enough shows the Czech band decked out in Nudie suits in a high desert landscape with a flying saucer looming overhead. Is it a statement on their inherent alien-ness in the American landscape? Is it an affirmation of their reverence for the music and acknowledgment of the absurdity in Bohemian punks tackling an often-xenophobic artform? Is this country music with a fantastical cosmic element? Whatever the motivation, Frankie & the Deadbeats have faithfully crafted a collection of songs steeped in tradition while adding their own forward-thinking radiant outsider flair. Songs like “On The Road Again, Again” acknowledge their lineage to American country classics while forging a link between yesteryear outlaws and modern touring nomads. Similarly, tracks like “On The Other Side” employ classic country timbres while making melodic nods to The Church’s post-punk hit “Under the Milky Way.”

We live in the era of globalization. Everywhere is both familiar and foreign. Like tumbleweeds, we drift from place to place, never laying down roots. That restless roaming spirit permeates across The Possibility That Love Is Not Enough, whether it takes shape in the homesick acoustic ballad “All My Heroes,” the down-and-out wanderlust of “Flowers,” or the defiant exit of the Townes Van Zandt cover “Nothin'.” If we are all untethered from our lineage, unbound by geography, and sifting through the ashes of culture in a rapidly evolving world, why not stake a claim on the sound of a specific time and place and build a foundation on that bedrock? This is exactly what Frankie & the Deadbeats are doing on The Possibility That Love Is Not Enough—taking advantage of a comforting sound of the past and juxtaposing it against the tumult of our current age. Call it kitsch, call it camp, but the universal yearning and undeniable melodies of these songs speak an eternal truth. Saddle up and enjoy the ride.