The latest signing to the unfathomably consistent Audio Antihero label arrives in the form of Frog – a New York based lo-fi pop duo crafting exactly the kind of tunes you wished Modest Mouse were still writing. Tom White and Dan Bateman’s music may sound stripped back on the surface but listen hard enough and you’ll find this is anything but skin deep.
Blessed with the ability to turn seemingly nonsensical streams of thought into musical poetry, Kind of Blah perfectly documents the inner erraticism of their oddly engaging world view. Opener ‘All Dogs Go To Heaven’ rolls in with a muddy strum of guitar and hushed vocals before kicking off into a sinister ear-worm of humdrum wordplay – “If all dogs go to heaven / And all dames ache for Daniel Day / Fuck with me darling and I’ll make you pay”. While Frog are often happy to wallow in the darker recesses of life, their downtrodden perceptions are almost always backed up by a wry, humourous pay off.
The intense, lyrical gushing on penultimate track ‘Judy Garland’ will have you clutching at Bateman’s every word in awe and bafflement, such is the distinct oddness of his delivery. Somehow the pair have turned the deceased star’s final moments into an uplifting jangle without falling towards tastelessness – “Judy Garland hit the bathroom floor of her cold apartment ‘bove a Chelsea store/ And all the drag queens and all the whores / Couldn’t get poor Judy back up off her laurels”.
Much like the rest of Audio Antihero’s output, this isn’t an album for passive spinning. Frog have written an LP you’ll want to faun over and adore even when it confuses the hell out of you. The best artists never bare all on arrival and this is no different. Give it spin. And then another – until it makes sense.