Within the many bubbles of the New England original music “scene” is the hard rock one, populated by artists such as Leaving Eden, Casting Shadows, and Flight of Fire. Among these artists is Frantic Endeavor. They combine elements of progressive rock, metal, and pop-punk to create their sound, also complimented by a violinist in the band’s six-person lineup.
“Made Up” is the band’s newest single. It shows the band taking a pop-like route, with an earworm verse and chorus, the latter complemented by the gorgeous line, “Your smile matches your makeup, it seems to wash right off”. One could argue it’s not as deep as it makes itself out to be, but that person is wrong. Production-wise, this single features excellent and crisp quality across the mixing board. It is a bit perfect, almost mechanical, but I feel like that’s the typical prog-rock mixing route, a certain perfection that is expected. I won’t hold it against them. “Made Up” also has some great arrangements, from the beat change halfway through the chorus to the mix-up in the second verse. Plenty of elements to keep things interesting.
Overall, “Made Up” is a song that tends to conflict with itself more than it should. Vocalist Lexe Hannah has a beautiful voice, but her volume didn’t match the driving force of the instrumental. I was waiting for her to raise her volume in the choruses, but it stayed the same throughout the song. However, there were some great harmonies, so credit where it’s due. “Made Up” also features, however small, great transitions between the verses and choruses. Short enough to let me know they’re changing, but different enough to mix each transition up.
At the same time, the bridge seemed to stretch too long and the instrumental accompanied by the violin riff overstayed its welcome before the vocals came back in. The transition from the bridge to the final chorus felt like it was heading towards an instrument “drop” once the chorus started to free up Lexi to sing a couple bars by herself, and it’s all I hear when I arrive to that part of the song.
To summarize, everything I loved about “Made Up” I also had issues with. I loved the vocals, but not in the chorus. I loved the arrangements, but not on the bridge. The production was excellent, albeit a bit robotic (there are people who love double bass drums, I am not one of those people). There were great vocal lines, but also a very direct first verse. “Made Up” had some great pop elements, but were constantly fighting with the progressive instrumentation.
Most importantly, Frantic Endeavor clearly put a lot of effort into making something unique, and I give them the highest of praise for that. No matter how I feel about the little things, effort went into achieving a unique sound and nitpicks are always second to that. Especially on a local level, it’s hard to make something that isn’t derivative, and Frantic Endeavor gave one of the best efforts I’ve heard at making just that. That’s what’s important, and that alone is what makes them one of the dynamic groups I’ve heard this year that I can also tell in person.