Tuesday, August 26, 2014
Label: Indie/Groovestand 2014
Review by: Urban "Wally" Wallstrom
Surprise CD of the month! Froskull and their absolutely great "space-age indie Prog" from the heart and home of Country/USA (Nashville) which includes retro elements resembling Yes, Rush, ELP, and King Crimson, but with dramatic changes, fusion moments, and electronic undercurrents 'ala Peter Gabriel's solo albums and the hint of Japan (the band and not the continent). Indeed. The brainchild of vocalist/guitarist Stephen Rockford Hammond (SRH from now on) and Froskull has shared the stage with a spectrum of artists from Nashville Country stars Chris Young and Lee Brice to Derek St.Holmes? Anyhow, it's simply just the exciting project as their self-titled debut album goes through several different stages of progressive as well as experimental rock.
Seriously people. Don't let the bloody awful artwork scare you away (see pic up, right) as this is far from the dodgy music as the CD cover might suggest. Vocal harmonies and compositions are huge and inventive and the overall great production sits nicely in between the dynamics of the arrangements and its analog fatness and sound. The guitar work of SRH hit most of all the notes, complex scales and arpeggios of the traditional prog as well as the more shredding approach of the 80's guitar hero. At times the A+ work of the very classy cross-work project and vocals are clearly inspired by the emotional mix of Jon Anderson (Yes), Peter Gabriel (Genesis) and Robert Smith (The Cure).
Opener, "A Thousand Years", technical and refreshing Progressive Rock. "Wait", friggin' marvelous music in the style of Peter Gabriel meets 80's YES meets the great sound of the Froskull. "Alabaster", super impressive instrumental piece with acoustic and electric guitar, bass-work 'ala Tony Franklin and driving percussion's that gives it the royal treatment. "Should Have Known", mainly Prog, but also bits and pieces of fusion, 80's acts such as Japan (bass-lines), and simply just the fun mix of elements and styles. "The Road To Sto-vo-ker" if Coheed and Cambria ever decided to go all fantasy and prog-rock and record the album with YES. "Report From Ganymedia", more of the great fantasy, Art-rock of the 70's with the modern touch. "Bardo 3" with its eight part vocals, deep synth and bass, liturgical singing, and layers upon layers of voices, takes you on a progressive rock journey to Japan. "Perihelion", diverse, catchy, complex, and highly technical stuff.
Final verdict. I can't praise this enough and it's not far away from the 5th R as in rating. Twelve tracks of pure joy intended for the open-minded (prog) rock fan. Here's something for the Euro labels to sign up asap. Check out soundclips at Amazon or links below. Highly Recommended!