frogKind of Blah- Frog (Audio Antihero)

DL | LP

Out 25 May, 2015

Few indies in recent years have been so consistently good at mining a seam of quirky yet highly listenable releases. Their latest in this highly productive line comes from New York duo Frog.

Apparently Kind of Blah was recorded in a disused bowling alley. That might be a more significant comment than it sounds, because the songs on it clearly benefit from the rudimentary production the album received. In other hands, you suspect that a track like opener ‘All Dogs Go To Heaven’ might have suffered from an over-polished approach, its earthy charm suffused beneath layers of inhospitably slick engineering.

It wouldn’t have done the album justice. What we have instead are 11 tracks of brilliantly rough-hewn splendour. You can almost picture the two guys responsible in your mind sitting with their guitars in that bowling alley bashing out these tunes with a brash enjoyment that’s infectious. I rarely make these judgements, directly anyway, but you sense that anyone who doesn’t get that enjoyment from it really is past saving: who could really pass up the wild, abandoned mayhem of ‘Fucking’ or the uninhibitedly gorgeous ‘Photograph’ without an immediate sense that something is missing from your life?

There’s a sense of aching humanity at the root of all of these tunes that’s so perfectly captured in their treatment that you come out of the listening experience with a sense of both empathy and exhilaration. It’s a feel-good album of kinds, but not in the way that term is generally used.  Perhaps that’s best exemplified by its single ‘Judy Garland’, which manages, via a demented stream of consciousness, to transform that singer’s tragic existence into something magnificently life-affirming.

~

You can get Kind of Blah on vinyl or download.

Find out more about the magnificent Frog at http://frog.cx. Alternatively there’s Facebook and Twitter – @heyitsfrog.

All words by Mark Whitby. More writing by Mark on Louder Than War can be found at his author’s archive. Mark is one of the DJs on Dandelion Radio and can also be found on Twitter as @markwdandelion.

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Mark Whitby is a regular DJ on Dandelion Radio. In 2005, his book 'The Festive Fifty', chronicling the history of John Peel's famous end of year chart, was published. He's tried being in bands but gave up after his surf-punk combo The Beached Whales ended in acrimonious failure in the late nineties, after which he decided to concentrate on listening to and spreading the word about music that was actually worth listening to. After hosting short-lived radio shows such as The A-Z of Punk, The Diamond Mine and Idiot Jukebox, he joined the Dandelion staff in 2006 and has been with them ever since. Among other things, recent obsessions include the Hungarian punk scene, short-lived and much-missed Isle of Man band The Chasms, Fuck Buttons and Jeffrey Lewis.

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