The moniker of San Francisco singer/songwriter, Karl Digerness, The Frail Ophelias is a Shakespeare cover band; an indie-folk project whose work reimagines Shakespeare one play at a time. Originating as a song cycle commissioned by the Chelsea Music Festival (NYC), their debut album, Macbeth, explores and remixes scenes and text from The Scottish Play.
The language may be indebted to the Bard, but sonically, the influences are slightly more modern, ranging from Ryan Adams tinged alt-country, to indie-folk ballads replete with banjo, horns, and pedal steel. And with the help of long-time collaborator, Minna Choi (Magik*Magik Orchestra), the songs are infused with a cinematic quality, with string arrangements at once delicate and driving. The resulting combination of text and music is a subtle reminder that, though the album’s inspiration may be over 400 years old, its themes — love, loss, regret, ambition, fatalism— are strikingly relevant.