This year has been a strange one in various ways. This year, I’m finding myself reviewing more EPs than ever, and I have a ton on the list still, too. Of course, when Frost* releases an EP, I stand up and take notice. Their new offering “Others” releases June 5th, and it sees the band exercising their creative muscles substantially.
Frost* are a legendary band. Their debut “Milliontown” is considered by many, including me, to be required listening for modern progressive music. Their entire discography is strong, as well. The current lineup includes: Jem Godfrey on vocals, keys, and production; John Mitchell on guitars and vocals; and Nathan King on bass. Craig Blundell is apparently at least partially on this EP, though he announced recently that he is leaving the band.
Frost* is one of those bands that just doesn’t sound like anyone else. Their style is certainly progressive, but not robotically so. While you could call them “prog rock” to a certain extent, their sound leans heavily on pop and electronica. In fact, “Others” itself is far more of those two genres than rock. You will hear sweeping keyboard atmospheres, filtered vocals, driving rhythms, and tons of samples and production accents that make this release feel truly alive.
One of things I’ve always liked about this band is their willingness to give a middle finger to the progressive community. I’ve seen some people remarking on the difficult nature of some of the electronic elements on this EP, but that is exactly why I love it, and why I continue to find the band so interesting. This EP sees the band at possibly their most visceral, or maybe “grittiest” is the word for it. Either way, this EP has some songs that are truly a challenge to absorb at first, but they are all the more brilliant for it. Huge walls of sound slam into each other with little notice, unorthodox samples make up some of the melodies, and the beats often hammer relentlessly: these things are just the tip of the iceberg for what you’ll experience.
One thing to note about this EP is that it is only being released digitally right now. The band actually has a completely different studio album planned for release in September. This EP was apparently written during the sessions for “Falling Satellites”, which was originally going to be a double album. I’m not a fan of most double albums, so I think they may a good decision to hold back these songs. The EP will be released physically as part of the “13 Winters” anthology artbook planned for the autumn.
This is an EP, but it has six tracks and is just over a half hour long, so there is plenty here. All six songs are riveting, powerful, and muscular, to say the least. Interestingly, there is one track, called “Postcard”, that someone uploaded to YouTube, but it isn’t actually on the EP track list. If you recall, Jem shared a few Soundcloud links last year, and that song was one of them. I wonder very much why it didn’t make it onto the final EP.
The lead single here is “Exhibit A”, a roller coaster of a song with salty language, an unstoppable melody, and some amazing vocals. It’s a good introduction to Frost* in general. “Fathers”, the opener, is similar in style, really bringing the rock side of things, even though you will hear less guitar on this EP than you might imagine. I love the atmospheric portion in the second half of this song.
“Eat” is one song that needs some discussion. It offers a hefty portion of vocal samples within its primary melody, and I think this could scare some people. The song plays into this idea more and more, and then Jem’s sweeping keys come in, and everything just feels perfect. This is an example of Frost*’s adventurous, ballsy composition skills, something that keeps me coming back for more.
This is an EP, so I need to mention each track. I would have to say my favorites, aside from “Eat”, are “Cloud A”, “Fathom” and “Drown”. The former is mostly cinematic and atmospheric in approach, even mysterious at times. It does get a sharp rhythm going near the end, but the song is mostly about aura, not rock. “Fathom” is similar in structure, but has this marching string section that really builds anticipation, but this time there is no climax or crescendo. It’s a brilliant way to change things up and make us admire the slow burn itself. Finally, “Drown” ends the EP with grey cinematic splendor. It’s another slow burn, almost downtempo in style, and texture seems to be the driving factor. I love it.
“Others” is a great way to tide yourself over until the new full Frost* album. Don’t mistake it for a distraction, and definitely don’t misunderstand it as filler or leftovers. This EP is practically an album all to itself, and Frost*’s signature inventiveness is on full display. Don’t hesitate to get this.
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