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Album Review: Froth, Bleak

Froth, Bleak (Burger Records (CD, vinyl); Lolipop Records (cassette), 5/19/05)

New record from L.A., by way of El Segundo band, Froth.  While I missed the boat on their debut release, I stumbled across this one and, well, I really like it.  There’s some cool history of the band – which only formed in 2012 – out there.  Since it’s pretty easy to find on the interwebs (like, here), I won’t repeat it in detail here:  suffice to say, the band (by their own admission) started off as a bit of a “joke”, then remixed a song from their first record for Yves Saint Laurent’s fall 2014 men’s fashion show (which is likely why they are discussed in (en?) Vogue).  Oh, la la!

Froth cranks up the psychedelic edge of dream pop and shoegaze, calling to mind similar efforts by bands such as the Brian Jonestown Massacre (think songs like “Evergreen” or “Swallowtail”).  Lead singer Joo Joo Ashworth sings in a kind of dazed croon, sounding a bit like Donovan or, more obscurely, Al Stewart.

Bleak‘s nine tracks glide, swerve and swoon by in around thirty minutes or so, during which time the band blends elements of ‘60s psychedelic pop, garage rock, shoegaze and dream pop.  Familiar elements are collected and mixed to great effect:  the jangle-tinted psych pop of the title track; the BJM meets My Bloody Valentine of “Postcard Radio”; the “Be My Baby” beat in ballad, “Nothing Baby”; the psych stomp of “Saccharine Sunshine”.  Album highlight “Turn It Off” combines all of these into a swirling, glorious, tilt-a-whirl head rush of a track.

Bleak is out now and available for download on the band’s Bandcamp page.  Check them out, as well, on Facebook.  In August, Froth will be on tour supporting The Drums on a jog through the wide open spaces of the Western United States – tune in and drop out with them if you’re in the area.

Highlights include:  “Turn It Off”, “Bleak”, “Postcard Radio”.