Kat Frankie - Bad Behaviour
A musician of unparalleled dynamism, Kat Frankie is back with her astonishing new album Bad Behaviour, out from Grönland Records on the 23rd February. The fourth album from the Sydney-born, Berlin-Based singer, Bad Behaviour is an ambitious progression towards a bigger, bolder sound that outpaces all but the most daring of innovative modern pop.
Kat Frankie never wanted to be “just the sad girl with the guitar.” Her music defies platitudinous characterisations that would label her as “soulful”, or a mere “singer-songwriter”, and aspires to something far more sophisticated and daring. Bad Behaviour is a portrait of a fearsome, and versatile artist at the height of her powers. It also demonstrates a musician for whom sitting still is not an option. Despite successfully transferring her cult following into a broader appeal, Kat Frankie has refused to rest on her laurels. Frankie says that she likes her music to be “messy”, and Bad Behaviour is her most ambitious project yet; luxuriating in a rich expansiveness that can incorporate a heady mix of rhythmic complexity and emotional punch into a sound that remains a joyful, and accessible invitation to dance.
It should come as no surprise that the artists that Frankie is most readily compared to – Haim, St Vincent, Christine and the Queens – all share this playful combination of intimacy and distance, of brightness and dark – not to mention a yearning desire to push popular music through the boundaries imposed upon it.
Kat Frankie lives by the dictum that everything must propel her forward: “I never want to stop learning”, she opines, and Bad Behaviour is a thrilling, kaleidoscopic testament to this impulse. The impish propulsion of the title track is matched by the chaotic emotions of Swallow You Whole, anxiously riven by a recursive hi-hat beat. Versailles and Forgiveness offer a response based on empathy, collective action, and love. Home stakes out ground as a powerful response to fear-based political demagoguery, a percussive and ecstatic call to arms, as it challenges current issues of marriage equality and #blacklivesmatter, and Kat sets out to establish a musical place celebrating “societal- and self-acceptance”. The accompanying video was made in collaboration with cinematographer Dylan Doyle, regular collaborator with Christine and the Queens, who helped to bring the battle cry to life.
However, all this would be posturing without the razor-sharp sense of theatricality and genuine delight in “playing” that sets Kat Frankie apart. Outside her solo career, Frankie has honed a grasp of commercial craft through a plethora of projects, be they playing guitar in Olli Schulz’s backup band, composing Get Well Soon (the title song for the Schulz & Böhmermann talk show) or competing in the preliminary rounds of the Eurovision Song Contest in 2016 as part of the duo Keøma. From the sunny, Californian accappella of tracks like The Sun, and the rude trumpets of robber-ballad Headed For The Reaper, Bad Behaviour never forgets its duty to entertain, reaching its obscene climax in the sleazy “vocal drag” of Back To Life. The album embraces and cherishes its messy humanity, turning a torch on the multifarious highs and lows of being human; its ruddy excitements and petty embarrassments, all while refusing to blink.
Bad Behaviour is unabashedly, brazenly political, and yet filled with a dignified, and earned sense of warmth. It promises revolution and change, but through joyous, ecstatic movement and sound. It is catharsis; kindling polar emotions and ideas to their fiery breaking point, before making an unselfconsciously earnest argument for the consolatory power of art. It is a manifesto, a confession or prayer, a glimmer of light through the storm.
Kat Frankie’s Bad Behaviour is out on Grönland Records