Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Review: Frog by Frog

A few weeks ago, I wrote a big stupid rant about money-grabbing reissues that force fans to re-buy albums they've already got. In that blog post, I suggested that Audio Antihero were a shining example of how to re-release albums like a good human being: either stop baiting people with exclusive bonus tracks, or squirrel them away on a separate release that allows people to only purchase the songs they don't already own.

It was only after publishing my bloated thinkpiece that I realised just how little I'd actually said about the Audio Antihero reissue at its centre. Today, I'd like to atone for this sin by telling you a little more about Frog, the hot little mini-album by the New York band of the same name.

Frog is not a million miles away from its full-length successor Kind of Blah (which came out earlier this year), but the goofy country stuff is certainly a lot more prominent here than on the more recent release. Don't get me wrong, those jangly hyuck-hyuck elements were in the mix on Kind of Blah, but I didn't really notice them until I listened to the seven songs that make up Frog.

Opening track Ichabod Crane, for example, twangs its braces with far more alacrity than anything we heard back in May:

Frog, as far as I'm aware, have always been based in Queens, but whereas Kind of Blah sounded exactly like an album borne of modern-day New York City, the self-titled set sounds more like it was recorded by a band who just moved there from somewhere in the Bible Belt.

Not that Frog has much respect for the church. Jesus Song is positively sacrilegious, depicting Christ and John the Baptist masturbating on either side of a pillow fort ("Can't cross the streams!" yelps the singer). Conversely, American figure skater Nancy Kerrigan is elevated to messianic levels in the song that's named for her - have a listen:

"We puuuuut oooour praaaayers in Naaaaancyyyyy Keeeerrigan..."

This is one of my favourite things about Frog: both Kind of Blah and the recently reissued mini-album are obsessed, occasionally to the point of worship, with popular culture and the stuff one sees on one's TV. Jesus himself is nobody of consequence in the world of Frog; instead, Nancy Kerrigan and Judy Garland and Aladdin are the people about whom hymns are sung.

You can buy Frog - and Kind of Blah, if you missed it back in May - from Audio Antihero's Bandcamp page.

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