Cult Manchester musician Liam Frost returns with his first album for a decade, The Latchkey Kid, due September 13 via AWAL. Lead single Pomona is available to stream from today, listen on your preferred DSP or SoundCloud. Frost will follow the release with a show at Servants Jazz Quarters on September 18, which sold-out within minutes of going on sale last week.
Recorded at Liverpool’s Parr Street Studios, The Latchkey Kid wears Frost’s love of Americana proudly on its sleeve. No mere stylistic affectation, this music has been his biggest source of inspiration and joy since he discovered artists like Josh Rouse, Whiskeytown, Bright Eyes, and Josh Ritter as a teenager. Melded with Frost’s characteristically north-western delivery, the result is pure idiosyncrasy. Alt-country, if the countryside in question was the Peak District rather than Nebraska. And while the title of lead single Pomona may have an exotic ring to it, it is in fact named after the small island that separates Manchester, Salford and Trafford.
“Pomona is about a betrayal in a relationship between two people really close to me and the effect it had on everybody around them at the time,” says Frost. “I tried to put myself inside the relationship to look for answers, and I guess Pomona Island was used as a geographical metaphor for the dividing force between the two people.”
The subject of a typically intense A&R scramble, Liam Frost was signed to a major label in the mid-noughties when barely out of his teens. Recorded with backing band The Slowdown Family, debut albumShow Me How The Spectres Dance was released in 2006. A second, fully solo album We Ain’t Got No Money, Honey, But We Got Rain – recorded in New York with producer Victor Van Vugt (Nick Cave, PJ Harvey) and featuring a duet with Martha Wainwright – followed in 2009. There has been activity since then, notably a number of reunion shows with The Slowdown Family to celebrate the anniversary ofShow Me How The Spectres Dance. Buoyed by the reaction to those special events, it both reassured Frost that his audience were still listening, and showed him that if anything, even while he’d been away, it had grown.
“It’s funny talking about that first album in terms of a tenth anniversary, like it’s an Eagles record, but we were struck by the affection we received. It’s a minority of people, but it’s a very strong affection,” he says. “I mean, I played a show in Manchester last year and someone in the front row fainted.”
Digging into his past pushed Frost to march onward, sparking a six-month period of immense creativity. And as he found himself seeking answers to evergreen existential questions, prompted by tragic events in his personal life, he looked to his youth for the answers. The resulting songs – 12 of them, each a meditation on love, death, ageing and finding a place in the world – are full of hope amid the heartache, finding bittersweet in the sadness.
The past, present and future have come together on an album of rare quality, with Frost delivering a record that encapsulates who he was, who he’s become and his hopes for what’s ahead.
“I’ve always just wanted to be honest with my songwriting,” he says. “And it offers comfort, to exorcise the demons and emotions that are too much to deal with away from a song – I couldn’t say these things out loud, but sending these missives out into the world is a valuable thing. It also lets people know they’re not alone.
The Latchkey Kid is released on September 13, 2019 via AWAL
1. Going Steady
2. Hall Of Mirrors, Rope Of Sand
3. Mercy Me!
4. Didn’t It Rain
6. The Slow Knife
8. Who’s Gonna Love You
9. When I’m Alone
10. Follow You Around
11. Lover, Trouble Knows My Name
Liam Frost live:
June 28 Manchester, St James Church
July 21 Stockport, Blackthorn Festival
Sept 18 London, Servants Jazz Quarters (SOLD OUT)