Six minutes into ‘Bushels’, the first single from Frog Eyes’ latest album, the music gives way and Carey Mercer’s vocal is thrown into sharp relief. He suddenly sounds like Adam Duritz from the Counting Crows possessed by rabid wolves.
And that, perhaps, is a rather apt moment on Tears Of The Valedictorian. This is an album that is both immediately enjoyable (poppy, if you will) and deeply complex - a frenzied stream-of-consciousness packed with melody, beauty and eccentricity. Mercer’s lyrics are barely audible, often turning into growls, yelps or moans, flitting between human sensitivity and animalistic pain.
For newcomers to Frog Eyes, it might prove disconcerting - criticisms of the band’s sound often centre on its messiness; the forsaking of structure. But that argument simply won’t wash if you give Tears Of The Valedictorian the time it deserves. Human experience and emotions refuse to be restrained - formulae are phoney. This is an outpouring of life, straight onto tape. Frog Eyes don’t hold back, they don’t over-analyse and waste time contemplating, and the result is a rapidly growing body of work that captures humanity in full flow: all the beauty, all the agony, all the love and all the shit.
It’s not too late to catch onto the coattails as Frog Eyes race off into the distance. This is essential, reassuring music that will make your heart leap.
8Mike Haydock's Score