A Fine Frenzy on her new album, her fears, and life on the road
Photo By Angela Kohler
Alison Sudol, known professionally as A Fine Frenzy, and famous for her red hair -- now blonde -- returns to her roots in more ways than one on her latest album, PINES. In the past, the singer has accomplished radio success with Clear Channel-friendly pieces that, on her first album, told sweeping fairy tales, and on her second, fluctuated towards an indie-rock feel. On PINES, which has an accompanying book that's available in print or digital form, it's as if Sudol wrote without stewing over how her songs would fit into airplay, including lo-fi orchestral tunes that stretch to seven minutes while integrating her love of nature which flavored much of her debut album.
The singer wrote PINES soon after the release of her sophomore album, Bomb in a Birdcage. Explaining the difference of her sound, she says, "I think it's an evolution. I've returned to the storytelling aspect that was present on my first album, One Cell in the Sea. A lot of my favorite songs on One Cell were nature-based, and I return to that as well, because that always gave me a feeling of well being and connection that I wanted to tap into again."
Alison wrote most of her album tucked away in her home with the windows locked tight, but the way she speaks of writing music is almost comparable to giving birth. "I've written songs on the bus, in the middle of nowhere, and I've even written songs in the middle of hotel lobbies. Sometimes the song just wants to come."
Getting over the fear of performance was done through repetition. "I just did it, and did it again. Every show is different. It has its highs and lows, yet there are so many magical moments. If something doesn't go as well as I think it could, I try to do it better the next night. I realize that I'm not very good at judging my performances. Some of my worst performances, in my mind, were in other people's, the best. I just know that I have to let it go and do my best and move forward."
Bands often underestimate the toll it take on the body, and even the mind, being away from home. Being of the right mind many times gets the traveler through living in an intense and different world every night. Sudol says, "If you're not healthy in your mind, it really affects the health of your body. It affects your performance. It affects the amount of energy you're able to put into things."
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