Kit Watkins: vocals, keyboards, drum machines, flute, telephone, pan pipes, autoharp, percussion.
Brad Allen: vocals, guitars, Casio, toy bells, screwdriver-mandolin, timbales.
Created in 1982, Frames of Mind signaled a new direction for Kit working in collaboration with Brad Allen. The two musicians moved headlong into vocal pop, world beat, and experimental music, creating a broad range of material, opening with the new wave track My Telephone and traveling through to the earthy and inspired closing track Audia. The CD features four additional tracks not available on the original LP release (Far From Home, Brad’s Spirit, Mandolin Orange, and Pilobolus).
A richly satisfying album, one that reveals new subtleties with each listening. —KEYBOARD
Watkins never lets technical literacy become an end in itself. Each of his unpretentious songs establishes a distinct atmosphere. —TROUSER PRESS
Back in the early days of Exposé, this was briefly available as a limited edition pricey custom gold disc, at which time we gave it a review. Now it’s generally available, a bit more time has passed, and it’s worth a revisit, as it continues to be one of the most misunderstood releases in Watkins’ vast catalog. The first eight tracks (corresponding to the A-side of the original LP with some bonus tracks thrown in) explore the realms of good old-fashioned early 80’s electronic pop, most featuring vocals by either Watkins or guitarist Allen. If there ever was a song that deserved to be a hit, the catchy novelty opener “My Telephone” was it, featuring a conversation between two answering machines, and tortured vocals by Allen. I never realized that a video was produced for it, but the proof is in the booklet photos. “Open Door” is a more pensive piece, supported by an interesting programmed rhythm, while “Silences” eschews the electronic pop sound altogether, in favor of an introspective echoey guitar treatment with minimal percussion. Beginning with “Siam,” we are on the B-side of the original LP (with one bonus track added), taking a completely different approach, using repetitive electronic rhythms and vocal loops mixed with flourishes of acoustic and electronic instrumentation to achieve something of a proto-techno sound. One of the most interesting pieces is the closer “Audia,” with its churning maelstrom of catchy melodies and compelling rhythms. In all, Frames presents two very different sides of Watkins’ early work. —Peter Thelen, Exposé, Issue #29, May 2004