Frog
Count Bateman


4.0
excellent

Review

by Mathias USER (23 Reviews)
August 29th, 2019 | 12 replies


Release Date: 08/16/2019 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A perfect blend of maturity and weird.

At some point, a maturity hits what we describe as “odd” or “weird”. Those adjectives don’t seem cultured enough to describe something layers. Weird, for whatever reason, is seen as far too basic of a descriptor, even though the word itself means anything but basic. We then move on to words like quirky or eclectic, words with depth, meaning, and that really mean the same thing as their predecessors, but sound more worthy of use due to their syllabic prowess. Frog has made a career out of weird. Yes, they definitely could be described as eclectic, quirky, out-of-the-box, or anything of the sort, but weird is as holistic a descriptor as any. On Count Bateman, Frog become the closest they have to feeling as though weird is no longer an accurate description, that maybe a more mature word should be chosen. And while “quirky” seems to be the it-word to describe the not-so-straightforward brand of indie-folk that Frog envelop, Count Bateman is right on the perfect border of weird and something more.

This is by-far the most stripped back Frog has appeared consistently across an album. What was once a duo has become the lone operation of Danny Bateman, who takes over every aspect of writing and recording on the album. There’s no chanting of the band’s name on this album, less variety in instrumentation, and less of the one-off flourishes found in their past work, and especially in their debut Kind of Blah, all while turning up clear influence from the 70’s scene. A warm feeling envelops the entire album, one of nostalgia for memories that we don’t even have.

What Count Bateman does to make up for the lack of those eccentricities is to completely rely on the creative liberation of Bateman, which is saying something based on his past work. The vocal melodies on the album are completely unpredictable while still being insanely catchy, with opener “Hartsdale Hotbox” being a sort of stream-of-consciousness melody that leads to an absolutely infectious chorus with layers upon layers of guitars. “Black Friday” is the first song on the album that truly relies on a drum machine, something prevalent across the album, creating a steady beat that ensure the random bursts of melody throughout the song never go off-track, even when Bateman’s dog barks and interrupts the recording, thus somehow becoming an instrument in its own right.

The entire album itself follows these methods, creating a feeling that simply feels at home, even if we’re not quite sure what home is anymore. As they have done in past releases, Frog creates a perfect mix of innocence and world-weariness that never completely veers into one lane or another. Bateman talks about all topics, from large to small, going from America itself all the way down to flea markets. The album also has the classic Frog-ism of striking imagery, where each song paints a picture and creates a story that is equal parts adorable and awkward. Standout track “It’s Something I Do” encapsulates this idea perfectly. Americana twinged with Bateman largely relying on his falsetto, he sings of a simple love story, managing to be both bright-eyed and bushy tailed yet worried that “That’s right I’m ***ed up and it can’t get any better.” On Count Bateman, Frog doesn’t view the world as black and white, nor do they view their music that way. There is less innocence here then there was on past albums and more levels of maturity and realism. The entire thing is full of intricacies, layers, and contradictions, and just enough weirdness to get by.



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user ratings (12)
3.8
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
dmathias52
August 29th 2019


847 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

A short little write-up for this delightful album. A surprisingly difficult band to write about, so hopefully some justice has been done to it!

Any feedback is appreciated as always.

Digging: Courtney Swain - Between Blood and Ocean

TheSupernatural
August 30th 2019


2010 Comments


Awesome review, I'm gonna have to check this out. I really enjoyed their last one. Thanks to Sowing for getting me to check out anything he writes about lol

Slex
Contributing Reviewer
August 30th 2019


7999 Comments


Excited to read this and excited to listen to this

Digging: Blood Cultures - Oh Uncertainty! A Universe Despairs

dmathias52
August 30th 2019


847 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I just went through and fixed some sloppy edits that sneaked through, so hopefully it reads a little better now as well!

I think if someone enjoyed their past work, they’ll enjoy this. Way too real on the Sowing stuff @TheSupernatural lol

notkanyewest
August 30th 2019


17 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Was thinking about writing this one up myself- great job though. Liked their last one a little more but "Black Friday" might be the best song he's ever written.

SowingSeason
Moderator
August 30th 2019


32091 Comments

Album Rating: 4.1

Thanks for reviewing this. These guys are brilliant and this might be their most balanced/consistent release to date. I really like every single song and am enjoying the warmth here vs. their comparatively silly/immature outlook in the past.

Digging: Lana Del Rey - Norman Fucking Rockwell

dmathias52
August 30th 2019


847 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks all! I definitely feel as though this their most consistent, it just doesn’t hit the heights of their past stuff (namely “God Once Loved a Woman”). Although that opening track gives it a run for its money!

WatchItExplode
August 30th 2019


7098 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Props Mathias, you found the words. I know this for a fact because I have 3/4 of them sitting in a word document. This is much more coherent than where I would have ended up but lacks the word "vignettes".



Last line of second paragraph is a perfect encapsulation of Frog period.

tom79
August 30th 2019


3693 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Wasn't expecting a new one so soon! Loving this, I think it might be their best yet. Something about these guys I can't really put my finger on just clicks with me.

Digging: Frog - Count Bateman

Slex
Contributing Reviewer
August 30th 2019


7999 Comments


Just as I suspected this is a lovely review, pos

WatchItExplode
August 30th 2019


7098 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

But seriously fuck the drum machine so hard...

tom79
September 5th 2019


3693 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This is sooooo good



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