FROST*, Day and Age (InsideOut 2021). Despite its dark overall tone, Frost*’s latest effort manages to make that which seems sad remarkably catchy! Progressive rock is rarely described in terms of hooks and grooves, yet there are plenty to be found here. Jen Godfrey, Nathan King, and John Mitchell use three different drummers, each bringing their own contributions to the whole. Meanwhile, the lyrics reflect what many may be feeling during the age of pandemic, namely isolation, desperation, and the need to be free of that which plagues us internally.
COWBOYS & FRENCHMEN, Our Highway (2021). “Cinematic free-jazz” is how Cowboys & Frenchmen have chosen to describe their new record. It fits like a glove. What starts out as an avant-garde musical challenge transitions nicely into a heavy, steady groove that swings even as it pushes musical boundaries. The music is accessible even while being aggressive, with more than a couple of airy touches like “American Witness” to calm things down a bit. This is a fine record that pays off nicely when all is said and done.
MOLESOME, Are You There? (Roth-handle 2021). The most predictable thing about a Molesome album is it’s complete and utter UNpredictability! Robert Fripp often says King Crimson is not an end unto itself, but rather means to an end. Welcome to the next step in that evolution. Mattias Olsson consistently and continuously swings for the fences with every musical outing. This is no exception. This album is more based in groove than the past couple of Molesome efforts, but what’s done with those grooves simply cannot be predicted, only enjoyed. And then it shifts direction. Get used to it.
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