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Frog Eyes : Carey’s Cold Spring

Tragic circumstances – the passing of frontman Carey Mercer’s father midway through recording and the singer being diagnosed with throat cancer two days after green-lighting the final mixes – will likely overshadow and influence the response to the seventh Frog Eyes long-player Carey’s Cold Spring, out October 7 via Bandcamp, but they shouldn’t lead listeners to the conclusion that the album is a deeply personal meditation on life and death or some morbid reflection on our own mortality. In fact, in a rare move for Mercer, the nine songs here don’t follow any kind of over-arching theme or conceptual thread: although a variety of strange and wonderful characters populate the record, brought to life in glorious Technicolor by the former English teacher’s ever impressive vocabulary, they all move through their lives independently of one another, unbound, oblivious. Lack of such narrative constraints allows Mercer free reign to muse on more abstract notions, riffing on everything from sneakers (“Noni’s Got A Taste For The Bright Red Air Jordans”) to sci fi (“Needle In The Sun”) to self-help mantras; the latter in a particularly elegant number – “Don’t Give Up Your Dreams” – that adds chiming Marquee Moon-like guitars to the group’s usual knotty, sprawling prog-rock blueprint. Mercer’s famously feral vocals may be toned down – with a strange prescience the yelps and growls of old are kept to a bare minimum, making way for a velvety, Bowie-esque croon – but this is Frog Eyes to the max; listen to epic closer “Claxxon’s Lament” below, stream the whole album via Pitchfork Advance, and read some words that I wrote about their last album Paul’s Tomb: A Triumph here.
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About foamhands

My name is Michael Dix; I'm a decade or so past being down with the kids, but to me new music never gets old. Apparently I like music that sounds like faulty kitchen appliances and ritual slaughter; really I just like what I like, whether that happens to be indie, pop, punk, hip hop, metal, electronica, Afrobeat or jazz. Follow me on Twitter @FoamHandsBlog to receive notifications of new posts and the occasional random brain-fart, and please share links wherever you can. Enjoy!

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