For those unfamiliar with Frightful Places, the emo band comes from the mind of Kevin Tiernan (Mighty Tortuga, Moving Brooklyn), and the self-titled EP tackles the theme of facing your fears head on. The set of songs was produced by Chris Teti, and it shows an artist growing gracefully in his thematic approach to songwriting. The EP was crafted during the pandemic and it showcases a reflection of an artist learning to take his direct influences and create something worthy of his own name.
The EP kicks off with the textured guitars of “Old Frame” that sets the stage nicely for the rest of the record. Tiernan sings over haunting guitars, “And now, a year/ A crooked frame hangs above the stairs / Windows open / ‘Cause I keep coming back / Like a ghost at the edge of the bed,” and its evident that he’s willing to face his fears with an open mind. The title track continues down the exploratory path with more picturesque instrumental parts that allow for Tiernan to hone in on the more atmospheric sections of the song. It’s eerily reminiscent of the vibe American Football went for on their latest LP, and hits its mark just as well.
”Still” is largely built around an acoustic guitar and Tiernan’s vocals remain vulnerable, yet confident in their delivery to make the listener feel comfortable in uncomfortable waters. “Eklund Garden” features some great-sounding guitar tones and rocks along with a newfound purpose behind each pointed lyric. Tiernan closes out the song by admitting, “And I’m so close / Found some power lines through backyards, filled up on coffee / The caffeine gets old / Yeah, I am the problem.”
My personal favorite comes in the form of the closing track, “Stuck,” that expands upon the themes Tiernan experimented with on the earlier material on the EP. The chorus of, “Am I just holding space? / I’m stuck in the same place / I move on without moving forward / Am I just taking shape? / I’m stuck in the same place / I move on without moving forward,” is as powerful as it is heartbreaking, and paints a picture of a person learning about his missteps in order to move on.
Overall, there’s plenty to love and enjoy on Frightful Places. Kevin Tiernan can look back on this record as a moment of self-discovery as he continues to tinker with his sound that already features so many great elements to it. The next dramatic step is the one Frightful Places goes to next, wherever that may take them.