"Lukas Franks’ new album As We Pass oscillates between wiry post-punk and piano balladry, with “Us Against Us” operating firmly in the latter territory. A deeply melancholy song about red lights and impossible situations, “Us Against Us” is the sound of spiraling into the richest sounding of abysses."
Lukas Frank, the 27-year-old indie singer-songwriter-musician also known by his band name Storefront Church, had an idea for a music video concept for his new single, “Us Against Us.” He’d been learning a lot lately about self-states, the psychology concept that posits that individuals take on or are made up of different personas, and he was particularly interested in a visual representation of that, especially if those selves were kind of annoyed with one another.
Lukas Frank is well aware that he only has so much control over the Storefront Church narrative at this point. The 27-year old doesn’t like the term “hired gun” and also admits it’s the best way to describe his role as a touring drummer for Portugal. The Man and Kitten prior to striking out on his own.
Storefront Church is the project of Lukas Frank, who's drummed in Phoebe Bridgers' band and appeared on her albums, and the first song of his debut album As We Pass features DIIV frontman Cole Smith, but neither of those affiliations really prepares you for what to expect from As We Pass. It's a 9-song collection that's largely made up of bluesy, gothy, emo-y melancholic songs that sometimes sound like a cross between '90s Cure deep cuts and Nirvana Unplugged. (Lukas also cites Scott Walker as an influence, and you can hear that too.) Most of the album is bare-bones and somber, but Lukas also revs things up for the noise punk of "Faction from Under the Grove," and that fits right in too. With As We Pass, Lukas enters a long, line of depressive singer/songwriters, but even with over half a century of music like this, something about Lukas stands out. He grips you right off the bat with album opener "After the Alphabets" -- the kind of song that can make you drop everything and listen as soon as his voice comes in -- and the album stays that compelling throughout. Even with connections to established artists and the great Sargent House label behind him, this doesn't feel like the smash arrival of a hot new buzz artist; it's the subtle arrival of a songwriter whose songs creep up on you and knock you out when you're least expecting it. Usually, that's even better.
The darkly beautiful debut album from Lukas Frank’s Los Angeles-based rock project Storefront Church, As We Pass finds Frank leading a team of 20+ collaborators, performing and co-writing alongside DIIV frontman Cole Smith and guitarist Waylon Rector (Phoebe Bridgers)—it’s that sense of fellowship that empowers Frank to face the fact that everything ends, even titling his album for the act of moving on. “The past is just a tale I tell myself,” Frank sings over the placid guitars of “Total Stranger,” his deceptively powerful vocals evoking any number of singer/songwriter greats. On “Smile-Shaped Scar,” the evanescence of it all borders on apocalyptic: “Grass fingers reach from pavement / Some day, the city will sleep in a green blanket / Until then / I’m always there,” Frank prophesies over waves of dream-pop guitar, his melodies’ ghostly glow shining a light on all the beauty in the breakdown. —Scott Russell
Storefront Church, the Lukas Frank helmed Los Angeles-based band has delivered their debut album As We Pass via Sargent House and along with it a video for “Us Against Us”. A father/son collaboration the video was directed by Lukas and his dad, the two-time Academy Award-nominated screenwriter/director and co-creator of The Queens Gambit, Scott Frank (Logan, Get Shorty, The Wolverine, etc.). Featuring five different versions of Lukas driving in a car the video explores the idea that problems we face as a society are the duty of the individual to overcome. The characters look tired, disaffected, and annoyed with each other, and the world set to the backdrop of the hyper-capitalist imagery they drive by.
For Lukas and his father making the video was a new way to work together using their singular artistic passions and visions. Lukas Frank explains “Over the past few years my Dad has asked me to write two songs for him, one for his western, Godless, and another for his dark show about Chess that we were both convinced no one would watch. Collaborating in that way, we were in our elements, him making his thing me making mine and coming together in the end.” Scott Frank adds “the idea of doing a video together seemed like a natural way to continue having fun matching his music to images. We did the entire shoot in one day on a soundstage in Williamsburg, using producer Nick Castle's Verytaste Productions as a kind of ready-made unit. From the beginning, Lukas had this idea of a car full of versions of himself not really getting along, moving through an increasingly bizarre world at odds with itself as well. Which I thought was perfect for this particular tune.”
Two hundred of these weekly missives? Cue the fireworks …
Or simply press play on Greatest Hits … This Week (Vol. 200) to hear new tunes from Mating Ritual, Rochelle Jordan, Storefront Church, Rostam, Jagged Baptist Club, Wavves, KALI, Cuco, Double Wish, Lionel Boy, Amindi and more. Hit us on Spotify to check out previous installments.
This Los Angeles band fronted by singer-songwriter Lukas Frank specializes in atmospheric and melodramatic indie rock that has earned comparisons to Jeff Buckley and Scott Walker. Their debut album As We Pass has been a grower for us lately, with songs that really start to pay off after the third or fourth listen.