Kevin Olken Henthorn had nothing to lose. His former band, <a href=”/articles/news/7415554/stone-cold-fox-change-my-mind-video-premiere”>Stone Cold Fox</a>, had fallen apart after the release of their Tunnel Vision EP in 2016.
“Music has been my identity since I was 9 years old,” he said, “and this was the first time in a very long time that that identity was thrown for such a loop.” He had been making what he calls indie pop rock, stuck with the same set of song structures and power chords.
So, when Henthorn got the chance to start over, he decided to throw formula out the window. Holed up in a live-in studio in Connecticut, he spent 12 to 14 hours a day working on the project that would become known as Cape Francis.
Primarily a guitarist, this solo endeavor allowed him to explore bass and keyboard. He even took a DIY approach to his press photos, using a disposable camera on production days.
All of that work has paid off so far. Before the release of his debut album, Falling Into Pieces, hype has been building around the project. Cape Francis has been featured on Spotify playlists like Ultimate Indie, New Indie Mix and Electric Grit. And his songs “Iditarod” and “Olly” shot to the top of the Hype Machine charts.
“Falling Into Pieces” achieves a bit of a fake-out — the catchy chord progression makes the song feel like it’s gonna go the route of pop rock, but then the song abruptly fades out to the sound of trumpets. That subversion of expectation is an indication that his change in direction is deliberate — Henthorn intends to “break form and reconnect with the natural flow of instrumentation and storytelling,” according to a press release. After all, fade outs are a rarity in pop music these days.
Henthorn describes his newfound sound as “centered around finger picked electric guitar, and surrounded by simple arrangements of percussion and synthesizers.” Lyrically, his songs explore the anxiety surrounding the uncertainty of life after his former band.
Moments on songs like “Olly” pull the rug out from under the listener as the feeling goes from breezy to frenzied while the line “Where do we go from here?” transforms from question to snarl.
While closure is one of the album’s main themes, Henthorn admits, “I can’t say it arrives at a total black and white conclusion, and I’m not sure that was ever really the point, but there is some catharsis.”
Cape Francis will hold an album release show at Mercury Lounge on Sept. 29. Stream Falling Into Pieces below: