The Frank Hovat Band – Strange Machine


The Frank Horvat Band hails from Canada and is led by Frank Horvat. Formed in 2013 by Canadian composer/pianist Frank Horvat, The Frank Horvat Band’s uncreative name hides a wildly creative sound and a roster of ultra-talented musicians. An indie art rock band with an electronic edge, they create a textured atmospheric sound that envelops you with the sweet and soaring voice of Felicity Williams (Bahamas). Their most recent installment is entitled Strange Machine (2014).Overall Internet presence is slowly taking shape as I learned a few things about him even before I hit play.

The CD hits the deck running with a strong title track. It’s somewhat striking reminiscent of Unkle, Underworld, Orbital and Groove Amanda. The somewhat chime-ey keyboards/ beat/voice combo are well paired with his songwriting skills makes for a strong culmination of skill sets. The beats on these opener are electronic based, but heavy and thick nonetheless. Lyrics and music are very well thought out/put together. I was instantly hooked to keep listening. Subject matter is equally tied to musical setting and delivers well-crafted vocals and emotional tranquility. Equal parts heartfelt emotion and soaring moog/synths, Horvat and company paint images in creative, yet relatable ways. It’s evident to the ear that much time has been invested in crafting each song to stand on its own, separate from the next. The overall mix of this album is impressive without outside assistance. It refuses sounds like a bare-bones PC recording, or even a live performance. This contributes to the overall impact of the song. I do however have a few complaints, if they can be called that. This is a CD for a certain type of listening mood.

As I made my way from start to finish, there is a near-extreme tonality that was definitely palpable but unorthodox in nature for the vocals. However as the song moved it was constant and similar in consonance. Bottom Line: I wish the vocals were more explosive. Most certainly The Frank Horvat Band has a knack for crafting imagery and instrumentation to complement his vocal style, which made it so surprising there was such little use of minor and dissonance. Vocally I can only describe it as a Production Underdose when I want an overdose of that type of intensity that needs to be at the head with the guitar. Trent Reznor is the master at vocal expression (Soft and Hard). It’s shall we say to conservative and as one song goes over 4 minutes I found myself painfully longing for something else to happen within each movement. Not a bad thing, but based on the solidness of the song textures, I was expecting much more chordal variety. Beat are a bit Electronic laden. Come to think of it I really didn’t get hit by any really hard beats, though the guitar/keyboards/synths were up to par. Though not overly distracting, all voices are likeable but didn’t completely fit with the rest of the song and strengths. With all due respects this CD barely makes a FOUR of FIVE.

Overall, this is a very impressive release by The Frank Horvat Band and it was an absolute pleasure to get into his mindset and listen to. It will hold a place in my fascinating and dark play list when I really need it. My favorite tracks are the title track, The Drill, Fishworshipper and Take From me. Frank Horvat is a master at bringing together all the flavors of many different musical styles and genres. He is armed with great writing, a brilliant creative mindset. His music is highly original and will no doubt evolve over time into something truly groundbreaking.

Final Rating: 4/5


Purchase Link:

Michael Tracy

Leave a Reply