A young, solo, female folk artist has truly made her mark with her nearly impossible to describe first album entitled Freshman Year. Frances Quinlan, her acoustic guitar and incredibly smart lyrics demand to be discovered by the folk fan inside of each and every one of us. With the occasional back-up vocals, back-up keyboards, drums, and even the occasional kazoo, Hop Along, Queen Ansleis and her fair-weather back-up artists create a simply adorable album.The upbeat style of this album is what separates it from other folk records and makes it its own even though some of Quinlan’s influences include such solemn bands as Bright Eyes and Rilo Kiley. Every song on this sixteen track “happy hour” is worth noting, but perhaps the best of the best would be such songs as “For Sebastian from a Friend,” “Of My Brothers and the Bear” and “Bruno is Orange.” Undoubtedly, the most treasured song of Hop Along’s would be “Marigold and Mr. O,” an ode about how a young girl fell in love with an octopus but “everybody knows that you can’t love an octopus.” Each and every song is as wholesome and loveable as “Marigold and Mr. O,” and also delivers a uniquely clever message, at the same telling some sweet, fractured fairytale of sorts. Also, an interesting reoccurring theme throughout Freshman Year is that of the underwater undertone that swims constantly amidst several tracks.
Quinlan hails from Pennsylvania and, despite going to school in Maryland, can oftentimes be found playing in Pennsylvania, especially in Philadelphia. Quinlan offers such an energetic passion when she strums her guitar and belts those lyrics out so that everyone can hear her. A set by Hop Along can be defined as just genuine and fun. The crowd has no choice but to get into it. The catchy choruses and happy beats leave a smile on even the toughest hardcore kid out in the audience. I highly recommend getting this album if you have the means. Though it has not been released in stores (yet), it will be soon enough.
Folk lover or not, check out the girl who gives Rilo Kiley a run for their money and would definitely do Connor Oberst proud.