Violent Psalms // Paper Bag Records
A new Frog Eyes album would typically fill this reviewer with giddiness, but the press release that came with Violent Psalms had the words “last album ever” scrawled within. An outlier within the Canadian music scene, Frog Eyes has stayed true to their art for 17 years. We listened to them grow musically over the course of nine full length records and two EPs. We felt the pain of love, loss and struggle as Carey Mercer offered up personal details of his life through his cryptic musings. When a band has such a lengthy tenure, each release becomes a time capsule for the members that created it. That sentiment extends beyond the band as each record has the ability to take fans back to significant moments in their own lives. Unbeknownst to Frog Eyes, we shared our own love, loss and struggles with them through their previous outings and this new album will be no different. The core duo of Carey Mercer and Melanie Campbell wanted to capture the sound of a debut with no expectations of ever being heard. They forced themselves into a creative cave beginning with guitar and drums, meticulously recording each kick, tom and snare to perfection. Terri Upton added bass to the mix while Shyla Seller’s synths were layered in to create luscious texture to the band’s final ten tracks. Like on every previous Frog Eyes release, Carey Mercer’s voice is the album’s most vital asset. The word idiosyncratic is synonymous with his style, but I urge everyone to quell the desire to describe his voice in this way. Perhaps the only peculiar thing about Mercer’s voice is his ability to soak each word with emotion and imprint those raw feelings into the listener. His voice makes hair stand upright, goosebumps emerge and the spine tingle. Although the end of Frog Eyes fills many with a deep sorrow, we must consider ourselves blessed that they gave us one last triumph to add to our collections.