Frank Lopes Jnr’s heart-on-sleeve tales of life grow­ing up in Los An­ge­les are one of a kind

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - THETAKE CRITICS’ CHOICE - NIALLBYRNE Hobo John­son & the Lovemakers playVicar Street, Dublin, on Jan 28th


Slam po­etry in­die rap


Loomis, Cal­i­for­nia.


Hear­ing Frank Lopes jnr for the first time is a jar­ring ex­pe­ri­ence. The Sacra­mento na­tive’s vo­cal de­liv­ery is abra­sively hy­per­ac­tive and de­liv­ered in a short-at­ten­tion-span style like the stoner kid with bum fluff stereo­type in a teen movie come to life. His jerky, jolt­ing style is suit­able for his stream-of-con­scious­ness heart-on­sleeve lyrics, which weave in and out of emo cho­ruses, wry jokes and di­vert­ing mono­logues. He per­forms with a band of alt-folk mu­si­cians called The Lovemakers, and his lo-fi mu­sic style harks back to the Moldy Peaches, remixed with hip-hop.

For the best in­tro­duc­tion to their en­ergy, watch his per­for­mance with his band on NPR’s pres­ti­gious Tiny Desk Con­certs, which the band got by ap­ply­ing for a pub­lic con­test. The song they sub­mit­ted, Peach Scone, quickly picked up tens of mil­lions of views on its own steam. It was recorded in a sunny back­yard and typ­i­fies their ap­peal – ex­u­ber­antly howled cho­ruses sup­port­ing Lopes jnr per­form­ing a day­dream love song to a woman who looked out for him while he was liv­ing in his car. She has a boyfriend, and the song is ul­ti­mately about a pla­tonic kin­ship.

An­other song, Romeo and Juliet , is about his par­ent’s di­vorce and the ef­fect it may have on his fu­ture re­la­tion­ships. “The mar­riage went south / when the snake came back and asked my mother out to din­ner / And my dad found out, and asked my mom what that’s about / And she said ‘Oh, it’s noth­ing’, but dad loves to shout re­ally loud / Loud enough to knock the lamps and dressers to the ground / In my mem­ory, I can hear Chopin’s noc­turnes play­ing in the back­ground.”

You might hate the de­liv­ery of Hobo John­son, but there’s no doubt his con­ver­sa­tional sto­ries of life as a young­ster in LA are one of a kind.

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