Frente’s Marvin The Album celebrates a significant milestone this year, its 21st birthday. To celebrate, the band have re-released their debut record and made it into a deluxe, remastered two-CD version as well as touring in support.

Marvin is light, sweet and summery and looks poised to win some new fans, while there will be many others who will be listening to it again in order to reminisce (I’m looking at you, Sarah Blasko).

If we cast our minds back to late 1992 and early 1993 we should consider the then-musical landscape. This may not have been a conscious thought in the band’s minds but the music world is full of masculine-sounding rock and grunge. Heavy guitars abound, teen angst is high (despite the mood being low) and the prevailing thought is that anything bigger (volumes, solos, etc) is better. Enter Frente, a girly-sounding, anti-rock group thanks to frontwoman, Angie Hart, and their music, which straddles the line between pop and folk music

The anniversary edition sees the 13-tracks from the original Australian album expanded to 16 to include the extra cuts from the group’s international release. These new tracks include the soft, acoustic cover of New Order’s ‘Bizarre Love Triangle’. It’s a very different beast to the original, and yet on Frente’s very own ‘1.9.0’ they sound a little like the Manchurian group as there is a catchy riff combined with some quietness.Frente achieved their biggest success with their bouncy, summery single, ‘Accidently Kelly Street’. It was written after bassist, Tim O’Connor moved house and mispronounced Kenny as Kelly. It is full of giddy, youthful effervescence and it was largely off the back of this and their other big single, Ordinary Angels’ that the group became an international concern and sold 1.2 million copies of this record.

The members of Frente had varied musical tastes and had strong and assured-enough personalities so that they were able to draw inspiration from other artists and still sound completely like themselves. In lesser hands the sweet, nuanced and fragile ‘Girl’  would not work as the opening track to ‘Accidently Kelly Street’. There is the nice balladry of ‘Pretty Friend’, with the song sounding like yet another facet of their musical personalities. And the group is very good at making twee music as shown on ‘Ordinary Angels’.Depending on your view, this can be endearing and charming or annoying and grating.

Above everything else, Frente are sweet and they sound comfortable in their own skins. Their quirky, acoustic-based songs are full of whimsical flutter, but when you scratch the surface there is more on offer here then light, airy and dismissible pop. Marvin The Album is positive, cute and honest and is peppered with an innocence of youth that shows no signs of mellowing with age.

Originally published on 26 August 2014 at the following website:—marvin-the-album-21st-anniversary-edition-26082014.html

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