There’s just something about New York duo Frog’s second full length LP Kind of Blah, an intangible and indescribable quality which makes it far more than the sum of it’s deeply original and often highly dishevelled parts.
The band’s self-titled 2013 debut was proclaimed by Drowned in Sound as “the best American guitar record of the year”, and there are certainly moments that this stunning guitar work presents itself again here; from the Door-esque intro of ‘Wish Upon a Bar’ to the Ride inspired slacker-pop of ‘Fucking’. In spite of the lo-fi fuzzy warm ambience which douses Kind of Blah, this is a band able to effortlessly write catchy pop hooks. With most of the tracks amounting to little over the three minute mark, they burst to life, dragging the listener in closer with an anthemic flourish (‘Photograph’) or a tender refrain (‘Irish Goodbye’) and then burn out as quickly as they arrived.
In spite of a couple of weaker moments on the frantic ‘King Kong’ and the over-saturated ‘Everything 2002’ it’s a record which makes for near consistently-compelling listening. Where the album begins to climb above being just a strong collection of catchy left-field pop tracks is in the duo’s ability to write songs that feel so lived in. On album highlight ‘Catchyalater’ it’s the far off sound of an American summer, the background cheers and claps of a hazy sports field float aloft while the protagonist talks of how “I watched you from the kitchen window, I want to call you I just play Nintendo”. It’s a song that reeks of apathy and wasted youth, and is utterly brilliant.
This is the strength of the band’s emotive and descriptive lyrics, paired with rich soundscapes, they make you nostaglic for memories you never had and take you back to places you’ve never before been. As the final curtain draws on the hidden track within ‘Bad Boy’ you feel as though you’ve been given a glimpse behind the curtain too; an intimate insight into the band’s past, present and future.
Buy: Frog – Kind of Blah