Kat Frankie
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Kat Frankie


Band Rock Singer/Songwriter


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"Viele Seiten, kein Lehrlauf: Die kratzbürstige Australierin fasziniert"

**** [vier Sterne]

Ende Januar kommt ein Film namens "Berlin Song" in die Kinos, in dem sieben Songwriter unterschiedlicher nationaler Herkunft porträtiert werden, die in Berlin Glück und Karriere suchen, viel grundsätzlicher aber "an alternative culture, once again occupied politically in concious opposition to that which youth culture appears to consist of today: to be an indiviualist, but follow the mass". Das sagt Wieland Speck, Programmleiter der Sektion Berlinale, in deren Rahmen "Berlin Song" im letzten Jahr zu sehen war.

Tatsächlich internationalisiert sich die Stadt ja auch und vor allem in der Songwriter-Szene, warum auch immer. Jedenfalls ist die Australierin Kat Frankie eine der im Film begleiteten Sängerinnen, und jetzt gibt es ihr erstes Album – auf dem kleinen Berliner Label solaris empire.

Kat Frankie sammelt auf "Pocketknife" offenbar das zusammen, was in den letzten drei Jahren hierzulande live zu sehen war. Die Produktion verzichtet ganz auf opulente Oberflächen, oft hört man nur ein (manchmal gar zwei!) Schlagzeug(e) und eine Akutikgitarre, über der Frankie sehr unterschliedliche Stimmungswelten entfaltet. Dunkel kratzbürstig und fast brutal sind diese Lieder manchmal, dann wieder zart und zerbrechlich – Frankie hat ein große Breite in ihrem Songwriting und dazu eine enorm wandlungsfähige Stimme, mit der sich all das Toben, Leiden und Lieben sehr genau darstellen lässt.

Der Opener "Boy Wolf" entfaltet sich in langen sechs Minuten über langsam gezupften Akkorden und funktioniert wie ein Bollwerk gegen Menschen mit einer zu geringen Aufmerksamkeitsspanne. Die drängende Intensität von "Everything Everything" errinert an Jeff Buckley, "Going Away" schwebt über Mellotron und zart gebrochenen Gitarrenakkorden. Höhepunkt ist das schon auf MySpace aufgefallene "The Tops", wegen seiner mysteriösen Harmonien und diesem charakteristischen Klang, der "Pocketknife" prägt.

Einen schönen Gruß nach Berlin! Ist eine wirklich schöne Platte geworden.

Jörn Schluter - Rolling Stone (Germany)

"Many facets, no neutral gear: the feisty Australian captivates"

**** [four stars]

At the end of January, the film “Berlin Song” will be released to the cinema, in which seven songwriters from different countries are portrayed. They have come to Berlin seeking happiness and opportunity, but even more so “ an alternative culture, once again occupied politically in conscious opposition to that which youth culture appears to consist of today: to be an individualist, but follow the mass”. Those are the words of Wieland Speck, the head of the Panorama section of the Berlinale (the Berlin Film Festival), where “Berlin Song” was screened last year.

As a matter of fact - for whatever reason - Berlin has been becoming more international, especially the Songwriter scene. In any case, Kat Frankie is one of the protagonists of the film, and now her debut album is available on the small Berlin based label Solaris Empire.

It seems that Kat Frankie brought together on “Pocketknife” that which we were able to hear live during the last 3 years in Germany. The production does without superficial grandeur, often we can hear only one (sometimes two!) drum(s) and one acoustic guitar, on top of which Frankie unfolds different vocal worlds. Her songs are dark and feisty, almost brutal at times, then again gentle and fragile. Frankie’s songwriting covers a large spectrum and an incredibly versatile voice precisely portrays all that rage, suffering and love.

The opening song “Boy Wolf”, which unfolds in 6 slow minutes over unhurriedly plucked chords, works like a stronghold against people with no attention span. The pressing intensity of “Everything Everything” is reminiscent of Jeff Buckley, “Going Away” floats above mellotron and gently fractured guitar chords. The climax – already a stand out on MySpace – is “The Tops”, with its mysterious harmonies and the characteristic sound unique to “Pocketknife”.

Warm regards to Berlin! The album turned out wonderfully.

English translation of Jörn Schluter / Rolling Stone, February 2008
- Rolling Stone Germany English translation

"Australian Press reviews for 'Pocketknife'"

Rave Magazine (Michael Pincott)
It's nice to hear a record that does more than it has to. Moving to Berlin in 2004 and living in Sydney prior to that, Frankie has sent Pocketknife into the world as her first LP, far removed from vacuous candy-coated pop ditties. Pocketknife sees Frankie craft dense, rich, dramatic folk songs. It has the air of certainty and confidence of someone like Kate Bush and has not only sound songwriting, but decent arrangements too. Often a singer-songwriter's record is a vehicle for a vocal performance and the instruments are an afterthought to fill in the silence, but this record actually sounds as if it has been fully and properly thought out. Boy Wolf is a highlight, serving not only to display Frankie's quite excellent voice (not too shrill, not too deep) but it builds up in an accomplished way that quietly nods 'talent,' and it's a recurring theme for most of the record.

The Australian (Sandra Bridekirk)
Australian-born, Berlin-based Kat Frankie has produced a very special debut album, a rich, often quite perfect body of work that unfolds delicately, coaxing you with a prelude, then a soulful, beautifully simple guitar-backed slow ballad (Boy Wolf), before launching into the deliciously yearning Everything Everything, with its shuffling drums, trembling strings and Frankie's girl-on-her-knees vocals. This woman has talent: she can pant and purr with the best of them, effect a PJ Harvey-ish snarl, turn out clever pop like Aimee Mann (The Tops) and coo prettily like Bic Runga without the eye shadow. The songs range from the folksy tap and lilt of Fake to the power of Blameless; there's even a protest song, Berlin Cops, a brash and angry swipe. The single Serves You Right for Using Violence is an interesting choice, its impassioned, driving intensity broken by an oddly peaceful interlude: the eye of the storm, as it were. Back to tour the east coast of Australia this month, Frankie has received consistently good live reviews overseas, so she may be one to catch. 4/5

Groupie Magazine (Mel McDonald)
Originally hailing from Sydney, female indie folk artist Kat Frankie moved to Berlin in 2004. Pocketknife is her debut album and is chock full of beautiful melo-dramatic folk songs. The intelligent singer songwriter found inspiration in Berlin's new folk underground scene, and is featured in a new documentary by Uli Schueppel (Road to God Knows Where with Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds). Stand out tracks on the album include Everything Everything and The Tops which evokes a cold grey Berlin day. East or West. Think Sarah Blasko with more grunt. 4/5

Time Out Magazine (Justin Grey)
Sydney-born singer-songwriter Kat Frankie relocated to the songwriting inspiring locale of Berlin in 2005, and from there she's penned almost all but one of the 13 cuts on her debut album Pocketknife. A stylistically diverse album that's surprisingly confident, Frankie's songs are for the most part situated in an acoustic base and are often fleshed-out with beautiful string arrangements. But undoubtedly the most impressive facet of Frankie's repertoire is her diverse voice itself - a voice that sounds equally comfortable delivering frantic, rhythmic whispers ('Fake'), tender, sparse melancholy ('Going Away', 'Say It Isn't So'), and dramatic, soaring aggression ('Blameless', 'Come Quickly').

The impressive scope that Frankie takes in on Pocketknife is exemplified by the album's frailest track, 'The Tops', and the angst-fuelled, dramatic closing track 'Serves You Right For Using Violence'. Merging these two polar opposites is the wonderful 'The Wrong Side Of Midnight'. Recorded in various basements, bedrooms and rehearsal rooms throughout Berlin, Pocketknife is cloaked with a sense of place that actually feels like Berlin might feel from an outsider's perspective - passionate yet dark, fragile yet brutal, beautiful yet intimidating. 3.5/5

The Brag (Jared James)
Pocketknife is the debut album from Sydney born Berliner, Kat Frankie but it certainly does not show. Melodramatic in the best way, Kat Frankie sucked me kicking and screaming into a vortex of deep emotion, where the audio-landscapes were so vividly acute that I could have reached out and touched them. In an age of pretty and melancholic female folksters who have quaint voices and even quainter songs, Kat Frankie offers a certain degree of fighting spirit and grit. It may be because she only began her music career after moving to Berlin, the city is rumoured to have an increasingly vibrant, underground folk scene.

Kat Frankie proves her voice is versatile. She breathily and delicately touches well-written melodies in 'Boy Wolf' while mercilessly executing PJ Harvey-like growls in 'Serves You Right for Using Violence'. In the tradition of the 90s angry femme, there is a degree of vindictiveness in Pocketknife which makes it somewhat exclusionary. Despite the power of her voice, Kat defiles herself, mimicking Sarah Blasko's vocal style in 'Everything Everything'. This is one of the few trivial grievances I found with an album that contains epic, emotional choruses rivalling the best. However this could be one of those albums that few dudes will buy into (unless their girlfriends make them.)

Perfect for rainy winters day bus trips. Great for hot summer days spent dreaming about a rainy winters day. 3.5/5 - various

"Deutsche Rezensionen für 'Pocketknife'"

Loop Magazin (Januar 2008):
"Zur akustischen Gitarre und begleitet von ihrer kleinen aber feinen Band, erzählt Kat Frankie in ihren Songs von großen und kleinen Gefühlen, den Widrigkeiten und Enttäuschungen des Lebens, aber auch seinen schönen Seiten. Das alles mit einer unglaublichen Intensität, die sich nicht scheut, auch mal laut zu werden, wenn der Song es erfordert. Trotzdem strahlt „Pocketknife“ eine geradezu ansteckende Ruhe und Ausgeglichenheit aus; eine Souveränität, die auf Kat Frankies jahrelanger Bühnenerfahrung basiert. Anders gesagt: sie wirkt ganz einfach glaubhaft, mit jeder Note, die sie spielt und singt. Gibt es ein schöneres Kompliment für einen Musiker?"

viva.de, Nina Hortig:
"Augen zu, Ohren auf, und schon geht es auf Reisen durch Fantasiewelten voller Mystik, Melancholie und Magie. Dieser Frau muss man zuhören, und Kat Frankie weiß, wie man sich Gehör verschafft. Die Australierin, die 2004 ihre Heimatstadt Sydney hinter sich ließ, um nach Berlin zu ziehen, macht Musik mit Seele. Dass es dazu gar nicht großer Instrumentierung, sondern nur einer umwerfenden Stimme bedarf, zeigt Kat Frankies Debütalbum "Pocketknife".

Da summt jemand das Thema aus "Peter und der Wolf" von Sergei Prokofiev. Ein ungewöhnlicher Anfang, der durchaus Neugierde auf mehr verbreitet. Wer dranbleibt, wird belohnt. Was "Pocketknife" da eröffnet, ist eine stimmliche Spielwiese, auf der sich Kat Frankie nach Herzenslust austobt. Bei jedem einzelnen Song spielt ihre Stimme die Hauptrolle.

Die Australierin jongliert mit Wörtern, spuckt sie mal wild als Anschuldigung heraus oder spinnt einen verträumten Kokon daraus, der von Liebe und Verlangen erzählt. Wie sie mit der Sprache spielt, so variantenreich setzt Kat Frankie ihre beeindruckende, oktavenreiche Stimme ein."

Szene Rostock (Januar 08):
„Ihr Debütalbum überzeugt durch ihre glasklare Stimme, dramatische Songs und eine leidenschaftliche Vortragsweise“

Berliner Abendblatt (Januar 2008):
„Zu hören ist allerhand: vom langsamen Pop bis zu manischer Elektrogitarre, alles mit ausdrucksstarker Stimme. Eine CD,
die nicht nur von vorn bis hinten gut ist, nein, sie wird immer besser!“

Kreuzer Leipzig:
"in ihrem Debütalbum, das so vielseitig wie ein Schweizer Taschenmesser ist, schnitzt die gebürtige Australierin wunderbare Arrangementsin den grauen Hauptstadthimmel, so dass dieser hier und da beginnt zu strahlen."

Szene Augsburg:
„meist sind die einzelnen Stücke minimal instrumentiert, so dass ihre fesselnde Stimme jede Gefühlsregung unmittelbar transportiert – und ich als Hörer empfinde mit! Zorn und Leiden, Glück und Enttäuschng – würde man ein weibliches Pendant zu Damien Rice suchen, Frankie ist ganz nahe dran, schon beim ersten Album“ - various


2003/4 - Outside. Now. (Debut E.P.)
2004 - Jaxter Award Winners (Australian compilation)
2005 - Berlin Songs (German compilation)
2006 - Then By Night... The Sounds of Manchester Lane (Australian compilation)
2007 - Berlin Songs Vol. 2 (German compilation)
2007 - The Independent State of Yorkshire (UK compilation)
2007/8 - Pocketknife (Debut Album)
2008 - achtung music! new berlin talent (berlin music commission compilation)
2008 - BerlinSong - Songs from the Film (film soundtrack)



*Please go to 'Press' section for German reviews.*

“Kat Frankie’s songs are beautifully crafted with poetic lyrics and her vocal range is extraordinary." The Age

"Pocketknife is a rich, often quite perfect body of work. This woman has talent: she can pant and purr with the best of them, effect a PJ Harvey-ish snarl, turn out clever pop like Aimee Mann (The Tops) and coo prettily like Bic Runga.” The Australian

"Kat Frankie sucked me kicking and screaming into a vortex of deep emotion.” Brag

"Passionate yet dark, fragile yet brutal, beautiful yet intimidating." Time Out Magazine

Sydney-born Kat Frankie has been a resident of Berlin the past four years, where she is known for her passionate, dynamic and riveting live shows. Her debut abum – recorded in the German capital - was released January 2008 to more than your usual amount of acclaim (Rolling Stone Germany notably awarded the album four stars - rare for a debut) and features songs about love, fame and Berlin police officers. With a love of language and a design degree up her sleeve, Kat approaches songwriting with an aesthete’s eye for detail. Featuring cinematic cellos, 70s mellotron, some incredible drumming (from percussion virtuoso Simon Ayton) and 4-part-harmony, Kat Frankie intertwines powerful and dramatic arrangements with an incredible voice that’ll tear your heart out one moment, and heal all wounds the next.

Kat also features in BerlinSong, a music documentary made by Uli Schueppel about songwriters in Berlin. The film was selected to premiere at the 2007 Berlinale Film Festival, and was released in German cinemas in September 2008.