Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Album Review: The Kings of Frog Island - VI

The Kings of Frog Island 
** out of *****

The Leicester, England based Kings of Frog Island have been crafting 70's inspired stoner rock with modern touches for over seventeen years. Their newest and sixth album is titled directly as VI.  

The record begins with an intro track "Monotron" which sets the tone for what is to come, flowing into "Ever and Forever" which displays chugging melodic heavy rock with splashes of dark psychedelia in the vein of the Black Angels. While the band clearly are in love with the early days of heavy metal there are millennium flourishes that they spice in with varying effect throughout. 

The perfectly titled "Bad Trip" is a slow slog that wears down over it six minute run time using creepy vocal effects but things just drag, while the more experimental "Pigs In Space" goes a different direction but with same result. The track brings in a weird techno dance vibe, mixed with industrial sounds during the instrumental, never really clicking into gear. 

On the bright side when the band moves to a more pop friendly sound on the album things improve. Specifically during the closing "Fine" and the fun, My Morning Jacket sounding, "Toxic Heart" which is the most successful effort here. When the band twists things in a more radio friendly sound the brightness shines, however, most of the album swerves darker. 

Tracks like "Sicario" are more par for the course, a plodding mix of styles with an overarching stoner rock vibe. "Brainless" pushes a marching drum beat with soaring guitars but ends too short while "Murder" brings in an eerie female vocals to mix up the sound before "I am the Hurricane" moves back to the bands main style with shaking tambourine as added flair.     

The band, Mark Buteux, Gavin Searle, Dodge Watson, Tony Heslop, Lee Madel-Toner are six albums deep and VI shows they will mix in new styles with their old tried and true sounds as The Kings of Frog Island hop on. 
A random bandcamp find. Support the artists, buy the album stream it below or on bandcamp:

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