Casual Confrontation is the stage name of Frankie Diez, a Romanian born artist who grew up in Puerto Rico and Miami before landing in Nashville. He’s here with his latest album, Marriage Culture, a sprawling and expansive 17-song offering that promises a look at the institution of marriage from all sides.

A producer and classically trained pianist, Frankie has released and produced three albums previously under his own moniker and also had cowriting credits with other artists. He touts his songwriting and producing prowess and that he also “…aim[s] to help artists say exactly what they want and need to say in the form of a song, giving them a space to let their words, feelings, and emotions flourish without boundary or judgement.” This sentiment translates well in Marriage Culture – Diez explains below:

“‘Marriage Culture’ explores the concepts of marriage as an institution, one’s desire for connection with others and with self, and the overarching rollercoaster of attachment. Marriage Culture ultimately reminds us that the love we search for from others will never compare to the love we can give ourselves – a love that is truly unique, beautiful, and necessary.”

Marriage Culture takes a strong R&B stance right away with first track and lead single “Now That I’m in Love,” feeling like an ode to the 80’s with Diez’ dulcet tones that rise and fall with the funky bass and drum beat throughout (if you’re a fan of Michael Jackson’s Thriller you’ll certainly find some familiarity with the composition). “To Belong” and “Kids With Kids” follow similar vibes -with the former being the slower of the two but still very much a bumpin’ tune.

“Let Me Kiss You” is definitely one of the standout tracks for me personally and falls right around the halfway point of the album. The synth work and backing vocals from Stacia Foresta, a collaborator on previous Casual Confrontation tracks, is superb and deserves multiple listens.

“Lekeitio” (as per a quick google search, a coastal town in northern Spain) is the other standout for me, as it again showcases the strong vocals of Diez and some of his classical piano training. This less 80’s R&B and more in the vein of Backstreet Boys era boyband poppy R&B. The final track on the album, “Now Kindly Undo These Straps” is a fun, sexy endcap that simmers until reaching a boiling point of emotion until going back to a low simmer. There’s a lot to dive into here on Marriage Culture – at just about an hour’s worth of listening, there’s plenty to dive into here. Marriage Culture shows Diez’s breadth as a songwriter and proves that he’s here to have fun, especially when he has the freedom to do whatever he wants.

I’ve never been married, but I do know a thing or two about the aforementioned “rollercoaster of attachment.” Diez captures this rollercoaster and the intricacies of marriage while paying homage to the R&B sound of yesteryear while still having a fresh take on the genre. The album itself will be released on Spotify September 22, and you can pre-save the album here. His previous work can be found on Spotify while the album is available in its entirety on YouTube.