Review Summary: And when everything is done and accounted for, there is no denying that their final stamp into the sand is one that none will ever forget.
When you’re dealing with a group that somehow fused two seemingly disparate but similar in nature words together and somehow passed it off as a genre, you know it’s something different. The words “spazz” and “core” when fused together form the interesting and intriguing genre “spazzcore”; this of course was coined by the band themselves. I am, of course, speaking of Frodus. Frodus had shaped and molded a career out of their tendency to break the limits in terms of energy and passion. Their sophomore effort Conglomerate International
was an incendiary of an album but never really did anything to suggest that Frodus was just another one of those “D.C. sound” post-hardcore or spazzcore bands. But in a bitter sweet turn of events the ‘spazzcore’ outfit’s last and final recording, And We Washed Our Weapons in the Sea
, is their best record yet; perhaps a stamp to a definite legacy.
Fresh off of the presses of a Orwelle novel, it is apparent that Frodus was sick and tired of the derivative and commadified nature of today's music industry and instead chose to acknowledge the attitude of 70’s punk. But to classify this album as simply a ‘punk’ record wouldn’t do the album justice. Frodus seem keen to tackle disparate and experimental directions home to more eccentric bands. And We Washed Our Weapons in the Sea
is the result of mastermind Shelby Cinca’s culmination of a musical journey; a musical journey ranging from Frodus’ inception to their final recording. Much of the music on And We Washed Our Weapons in the Sea
is heavily based in the post-hardcore threshold reminiscent of Fugazi and Refused. Still, Frodus seems to take a more experimental and technical approach to their music. The music on And We Washed Our Weapons in the Sea
is supported quite well by the impressive instrumental backing. Like the bass of Joe Lally in Fugazi, Nathan Burke uses heavy and groovy basslines to carry many of the songs.
But what strikes the listener, especially those already familiar with early Frodus recordings, is the band’s unexpected and dissimilar direction musically. The combination of jerky instrumentation, blasts of passion and Shelby Cinca’s explosive screams are still left over from Conglomerate International
, but the band tests the limits of their song-writing through the incorporation of new elements in their musical repertoire. Whilst these ideas might seem to be ‘out of their realm’, they are well backed up and the subsequent results are stunning. The beautiful guitar line seen in “There Will Be No More Scum” not only allows the listener to fall into a dreamy state but is also is somewhat hypnotic until Shelby Cinca breaks the tension with his elusive and belligerent vocals. Cinca varies things on this album as he switches from a fiery and passionate shriek to a subdued and melodic cleanly-sung vocal delivery. Songs like “The Earth Isn’t Humming” and “6/99” are perfect examples of this.
Songs that test the waters of Frodus’ ability and retain a sense of the band’s past turn out to be the most memorable. “Out-Circuit the Ending” and “6/99” both musically and lyrically, tap into the deep emotions of the band through Cinca’s mysterious and evocative vocal delivery and realist lyrics. “6/99” deals with the death of two individuals very close to the band; “We could disappear in echos / We could disappear in the live of those we love
. “Out-Circuit the Ending” in particular is the best song lyrically and musically.
But this is not to say Frodus has forgotten their past and what lead them to this progression. This is evident in the yelping screams and erratic instrumentation of “Red Bull of Juarez”, “The Awesome Machine” and the fiery and passionate “Year of the Hex”. Instrumentals like the creepy and languid Slint-esque “Belgian Congo” and the experimental and haunting interlude “Hull Crush Depth” (a testament to Cinca's love for electronics) prove that Frodus can integrate a number of musical styles without having to justify these attempts with simply trying to be eccentric. Brilliant and evocative in every sense of the word, And We Washed Our Weapons in the Sea
is a perfect example of a great record that can easily be applied as a blueprint for bands to come, and its diversity is a testament to the band's musical influences. As the first bassline rumbles out of the speakers and emerges Frodus is ready to stamp their name down as a valiant act that wasn't afraid to experiment and venture into a territory alien to them. And when everything is done and accounted for, there is no denying that their final stamp into the sand - all filled with memories of loss, corporate sabotage, friendship and a sense of accomplishment- is one that none will ever forget.