Frogbelly and Symphony: Blue Bright Ow Sleep

review frogbelly x1 cong

Frogbelly and Symphony are one of those bonkers bands that come along from time to time with no idea of genres or niche marketing, and play whatever they want.
On this album, there’s the sound of Libertines, a hymn, Swedish indie pop band The Concretes, a Slash-style guitar solo, funk, soul and folk, and more.
Frogbelly and Symphony are variously from New York and Sheffield and Brooklyn, and claim to thus “inject the indigenous workingman’s soul into the periphery of the bohemian metropolis”.
They reminded us of Do Me Bad Things, whose inspired 2005 debut Yes! was nearly as cross-genred. (Try Sprezzatura, play loud).
Frogbelly and Symphony’s opener is Mindbender so you can’t say you weren’t warned. With Liz Hanley on vocals, it initially sounds like The Concretes; there’s also a spoken section, which reminded us of Canadian singer Veda Hille’s children’s project Duplex! We admit that’s a little obscure but the words “children’s project” are key.
Invite to Eternity starts off with more Swedish pop and an Irish fiddle and is a warming pop tune. Ride Off Into The Sunset is psychedelic pop, where Tom Hanley lends his nasally tones to proceedings — he’d suit a crusty festival band.
Before I Die is the early standout song and it’s very good, except there’s a change of style and Hanley stops being crusty and becomes Bono, as the band goes all U2.
Patch of Blue sees them skirt round Do Me Bad Things’ funk-laden rock, Shingle offers more fiddle and a folk feel, while Organism is hymn-like.
Their website has a quote from Andy Warhol: “What I like are things that are different every time. That’s why I like amateur performers and bad performers. You can never tell what they’ll do next.”
Yes. Strange, very strange, but entertaining in places.

About jerobear

Weekly newspaper editor in Cheshire, England. I blog my editorials and the CDs I write about. I play drums, drink coffee, play music, meditate. I hate filling in forms.

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