The Kings Of Frog Island: The Kings Of Frog Island

The Kings Of Frog Island

The Kings Of Frog Island

Elektrohasch

The Kings Of Frog Island - The Kings Of Frog IslandWhile the name alone would be enough to earn the Disc Of The Week title, as a bonus, the CD kicks ass. Anything on Elektrohasch Records, owned by Stefan Koglek of the awe-inspiring desert rock outfit Colour Haze, is more or less a safe bet, but The Kings Of Frog Island’s particular brand of rudimentary psychedelia, blended with stirring acoustics and the occasional fit of stoner thrust, makes this self-titled debut a must have.

The record starts out moody, but opening track “Everybody’s Gonna Lose Their Heads” picks up quick, a running bass line underneath says right off the bat that there’s some serious rock in store, and it’s true. The guitar lead and vocals bring on an excellent dirge in a rough ’70s bellbottomed style.

Versatility being a strong point for the band, both “The Longest Hour,” which should hit like a catchy revelation for fans of earlier Queens Of The Stone Age or Kyuss, and the immediatelyfollowing darkly psychecoustic “Leone” show not necessarily the most complicated levels of songcraft, but certainly that there’s beauty in simplicity. “The River,” though, in which traces of stoner giants Monster Magnet can be heard, continues the acoustics, but is more rhythmic and works well as a transition track.

“Slate Blue Sky” reels things back in with another Elmer’s chorus and excellent performance from ex-Josiah frontman Mat Bethancourt over the keyboards, which set the track’s tone in a heavy late-’60s repetition. “Psychomania” is a more straight-up stoned-out groove, but no less interesting to the ear thanks to the lead work of Mark Buteaux. It makes a good contrast to the instrumental “Amphibia,” which is subtler with an underlying and almost tribal beat low in the mix that pushes the listener headfirst into “Save Me,” an album highlight.

The record closes with a reprise of “Leone,” but before it does, “Beyond The Revolution” kicks a firm affirmation of the band’s ability to time travel. Another Monster Magnet comparison might not be inappropriate here.

Really, there are two modes in which TKOFI operate.Their straight-up desert rock and more “out there” psychedelics. Neither one is anything that hasn’t been done before, but to have a band so new to each other drop a record like this right off the bat really speaks to a near superhuman prowess. It’s scary and great at the same time.

The only problem you’ll have with this disc is finding it. I don’t think it’ll be in Best Buy anytime soon (I might be wrong), but in terms of searching it out, a good place to start would be the label’s website, www.elektrohasch.de

—by , August 10, 2005


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