Today, Friday, April 24th, Andy Frasco & The U.N. release their newest LP, Keep On Keepin’ On, at the perfect time, as the struggle and isolation in the world right now are impossible to ignore.
Truly a creative force not to be reckoned with, Andy Frasco has been working non-stop, even during quarantine. He has amped his World Saving Podcast production, created the insanely comedic World Saving Sh–show live variety show on Facebook, released a mini-documentary and, now, dropped his highly anticipated new album. Listen to Andy Frasco & The U.N.’s Keep On Keepin’ On below:
Andy Frasco & The U.N. – Keep On Keepin’ On – Full Album
The end of 2019 and beginning of 2020 witnessed a 100-day marathon for Frasco and company, with the band playing 81 shows followed by a 19-day stretch recording the album. Produced by Dave Schools (Widespread Panic) and Kenny Carkeet (former Awolnation keyboardist), the uplifting creation showcases the band’s bluesy, rock ‘n’ roll roots fused with an agreeable dose of soul and pop.
Keep On Keepin’ On conveys the band’s musical evolution via synchronistic tightness and cohesive clarity. Its sweet-natured yet heavy messaging touches on various important themes including mental health, depression, and the vulnerable realness of the human experience. If you have been paying attention to Frasco, his focus has shifted greatly to serving as a genuine voice of awareness for mental health struggles in the music industry and beyond. One part party, one part spiritual, and one part self-help, this album truly reflects the band’s growing familial bond and positive outlook through their unapologetic musical storytelling.
The album’s opener and title track, “Keep On Keepin’ On” sets the theme of the story, vividly displaying the all-encompassing messages of mental health, emotional pitfalls, shared humanity, and our ability to persevere through it all. It’s an authentic message written to emphasize the importance of self-expansion and keepin’ on in a world that can be extremely difficult to navigate. With Andee Avila keeping the pounding rhythm alive on drums and Ernie Chang stringing us along via saxophone, this joyful jubilee will leave you happy-crying and headbanging while simultaneously screaming “LA LA LA LA LA” as the song reaches its cathartic coda.
Switching gears to a more soulful number laced with funky keys, friendly sax notes, and intriguing bass licks by Floyd Kellogg, “I’ve Got A Long Way To Go” hits on the duality of desires and reality. Andy’s impassioned plea to the universe about his “runaway” lifestyle on the road is coupled with an open admittance that he has a lot more work to do. After all, what is a rich life without putting in the work? The song offers lovely backing harmonies before dissipating into a crescendo of cymbals and a captivating unification of sounds from the band.
With the simple but powerful message, “You are not alone,” “Animals” expresses how, at the end of the day, we are all just that—animals, “looking for a home.” This charming number is a transparent reflection on the importance of destigmatizing mental illness and the unifying effect of a shared humanity. With comfort and feel-good energy, Frasco embraces vulnerability and addresses the “alone-but-together” aspect of being human, a sentiment that seems even more relevant given the current state of the world.
Shifting tones, the next track, “Getaway”, opens with a soulful sax groove and low organ tones before immediately jumping into a catchy ’80s-esque pop number. Frasco reflects on figuratively and literally finding a place to escape to, a place to take a break from the mundane monotony of being a prisoner of your mind and its constructs. A funky, danceable tune that seems straightforward at first, “Getaway” reveals deeper reflections of metamorphosis through the seasons of life as you dive in.
Piano-forward and bluesy, “Shine” (featuring Shira Elias of Turkuaz) brings forth a hopeful yet defiant call to action to take ownership of your life. A harmonious balance of astounding simplicity and immeasurable empowerment, the song reminds us, “Happiness is living in the moment, no one else is going to shine your light. Roads may end, but the journey keeps going. Find your way, shine your light.” Reminiscent of The Revivalists, the song beams a beacon of light which cascades into an Edward Sharpe-like sing-along to really make you feel like you are uniquely you, yet one with everyone. The extended outro moves a sheer feeling of bittersweet serenity into glorified tears through a coming-of-age conversation between Chang on saxophone and Frasco on keys.
Have you ever been driving north on the 101 with the top back on your seafoam green 1967 Ford Mustang on the way to a summertime house party at a beachfront mansion with an unf—kwithable vibe decades before the age of smartphones? Well, “Love Is A Gun” takes the listener right to that fleeting moment from yesteryear. Probably the rawest, most rock ‘n’ roll tune on the album, “Love Is A Gun” highlights the guitar prowess of Shawn Eckels and serves as the perfect 1970s time capsule. It’s a song that makes you want to become a cigarette-smoking surf bum with a sour distaste for romantic love.
A delightful composition to “self”, “None Of Those Things” is an elated anthem focused on the incredible richness of the present moment. As Andy tells us, material possessions do not matter and that real happiness comes when you get out of your head, put down your smartphone, and feel without attachments. It’s a loveable tune that keeps you dancing and engaged while offering an equally digestible and powerful message.
Next up is a tender number, serving folky, Americana vibes with uplifting harmonies and positive wishes for the future. “Feel It In Our Bones” evokes extremely relatable feelings of reflecting on past sorrows, picking up the pieces, and keepin’ on. It is a song of hopeful possibilities that hints at the boundless magic available to us if we band together.
A delectable fusion of rock, pop, and big-band soul, “Good Man” is an honest tale about the ups and downs of the human experience through time. It is no secret that Frasco has paved a transformational path, as his renegade party-monster persona now encompasses an authentic voice for his struggles with mental discord. Honest, transparent, and hilarious, “Good Man” is an ode to the tribulations of modern dating, getting blackout drunk, and lying to save face, bthe song pushes past the impaired buffoonery of humans to envelop the theme of trudging onward through the trenches of life’s not-so-pretty truths.
The closer of the LP, “Better Day”, lays out a more experimental sonic theme from the band, showcasing a rare taste of synth-pop. “Better Day” is a hauntingly melodic and spacey plea with a multitude of layers that blossoms into an ethereal sunset of love. Laced with a primal beat and guitar riffs, the song is tied together with a hopeful lyrical message that takes the listener into the ethers of possibility.
Keep On Keepin’ On presents a delicate balance between suffering and optimism. In the newly released Keep On Keepin’ On mini-documentary, Frasco voices his purpose behind the LP: “We can be whatever we want to be, not what our parents and society want us to be. It’s time to be who we are, who we were born to be. Authenticity is so much more romantic than just following the line to your death. I hate to say it because of how morbid it sounds, but I rather be on a dirt road not knowing how to get to the point, because I know if I keep going north I will get there. It’s better than just waiting in line and not knowing why I am waiting in line. In 2020, these words need to be out more than ever, because authenticy is the key to happiness.”
If any album were meant to awaken and inspire, “Keep On Keepin’ On” is the one. Full of ardent intelligence, unprocessed vulnerability, and an optimistic take on the realness of human struggle, Keep On Keepin’ On is Frasco’s most poignant work yet.