Move over ‘Selsdon Man,’ Croydon’s got a new cultural pace-setter to offer the world and he’s music to my ears: Nick Frater. Oh Frater’s not new, he’s been around. He’s played in countless bands and produced an impressive body of solo work, much of it mining a late-Beatles era kind of chamber pop. But on recent releases Frater has muscled up the sound with impressive effect. Goodbye Kayfabe showcases a range of influences from melodic and power pop to more crunchy poprock and smooth 1970s hooks. And the guy’s got a sense of humour (check out his cheeky album title/cover take-offs!). This video for his stand-alone single “Sara” captures a bit of the madness that is Nick Frater.
The album races out of the gate with the incredible, obvious hit single, “Built to Last.” I hear Cheap Trick blasting through this song. Great guitars and background vocals keep the musical tension fraught right through to the end. But then “Paperchase” sounds like a radio hit too, with its strong rhythm guitar backing, elegant 1970s lead guitar lines, and strong vocal performance. “Fruit Punches” opens with some nice Shadows riffs before shifting to a 1970s-style, smooth vocal delivered over a spare Beatles-in-acoustic mode sound. Then – bang – a great surprise change-up in the chorus. All in all, a pleasant, delightful deep cut. “More Than This” reminds me of mid-period ELO, if Jeff Lynne had any element of restraint. Frater even manages to slip some Selsdon-meets-Brexit politics into the mix with the boppy “Remoaner.”
You won’t have to wrestle with your choices on this album, the whole thing is great. Download it here and keep up on Nick’s antics at his web and Facebook pages.