Andy Frasco & The U.N. have long been the high-flying DIY renegades of the touring scene known and loved for their kaleidoscopic musical fusion and one-of-a-kind onstage audacity. Now celebrating their longevity, the band is shaking things up with L’Optimist (Fun Machine Records/Soundly), as its title suggests, Frasco’s most hopeful and enthusiastic collection thus far. A testament to Frasco’s wide-ranging influences and boundless energy, his band’s sixth released studio album sees the magnetic frontman continuing to chart his path of self-exploration and personal discovery through increasingly introspective lyricism and musical adventure. Songs like “Everything Bagel (Feat. Artikal Sound System)” and the deeply moving “Iowa Moon” touch on matters of the heart and mental health, emotional struggle and the sheer vulnerability of the human experience, all relayed through a wildly eclectic approach navigating funk, jazz, surf rock, blues, swing, gospel, reggae, exotica, and more with horn-blasted positivity and soulful power.
“I fight depression every single day,” Frasco says, “and the only way to fight depression is through optimism. I try to write optimistic songs because optimism keeps me going. As humans, I don't think we're all that much different. Everyone needs a little optimism to keep going.”
Having spent the first part of his career making his bones as a fun-loving frontman with a self-proclaimed “gift of gab,” Frasco pushed his songwriting in more personal directions with 2020's Keep On Keepin’ On and 2022’s Wash, Rinse, Repeat.
“I wanted to write songs that I actually feel,” he says, “not just songs that would be fun to play live. I wanted to learn about myself, I wanted to break myself a little bit to approach a different way of songwriting.”
Empowering and energizing from its very start, Frasco’s dopamine-raising approach that has made Andy Frasco & The U.N. a much beloved live outfit renowned for unbridled improvisation, audience interaction, surprising covers, special guests, and animated antics unlike any other. The band has long spent seemingly all their time on the road, performing more than 200 shows each year, as Atwood Magazine wrote, “spreading their bohemian philosophy of finding joy from existing in the moment.” Truly a creative force not to be reckoned with, Frasco also somehow finds time to host Andy Frasco’s World Saving Podcast and cater to his nearly 1M monthly dance party views on Twitch.
“With so much bad news in the world, why not try to figure out a way to get out of the darkness,” Frasco says. “We’re not going to be able to change the world, but at least we can change the mind state we have moving forward. We can at least help the process along by being optimistic that the future will turn itself around. And if everyone changes their mind state about the future, then maybe we can change the world.”