Review Summary: Before Frodus were yelling about corporate greed and artificial intelligence, they were screaming about fucking sasquatches and space monkeys.
Frodus have always held a very distinctive place in 90s post-hardcore due to their decidedly different approach to the music compared to say, Fugazi or Jawbox. They never made music with the focus on emotion as much as sonic perfection; every little thing is accounted for. The result is often callous and strangely inhuman, with this idea certainly reaching its peak near their end. Now, a sound like that usually takes years to master, which it did. But, their early material is actually surprisingly similar. The difference is that Shelby doesn’t as much sound angry as he does amused.
Right off the bat, one will notice that the overall sound is far more playful than it would later become. Frodus themselves call their early sound “nerdcore”, which is actually pretty spot-on. What you have is eclectic post-hardcore with many stops and starts, goofy shouted vocals, and riffs that will satisfy any fan of this genre. But, this album is of course not without its flaws. For one, the vocals are incredibly immature and would improve drastically as their career progressed. Although, the Sesame Street skramz definitely add to the fun vibe the band gives off. The other main problem with this album is the band’s obvious immaturity. While it can be excused since it’s their debut, it can become a little overwhelming at times. Some tracks just seem to blend together with their odd screams, stops and starts, and dumb lyrics.
If you simply want a fun, weird, or nerdy punk rock album to jam out to, Molotov Cocktail Party
is definitely a good choice. Frodus would go on to much better things, but their roots are surprisingly interesting. They were far more satirical, far less serious, and sometimes just plain stupid fun. Plus, perhaps most importantly, it goes very hard. If the biggest math-team nerds in your high school decided to form a hardcore band, this would be the result.
The machines never died…