Paul's Tomb (Dead Oceans, 05.2010)
For: Sunset Rubdown, Blackout Beach, The Evangelicals
Byline: Carey Mercer leads his bandmates into the catacombs of his psyche, emerging with the most triumphant and exhilarating album of the group's career. Originally published on www.inyourspeakers.com. Used by Permission from inyourspeakers, LLC.
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...Every promise of 2007’s excellent Tears of the Valedictorian is fulfilled in spades on Paul’s Tomb. Carey Mercer’s beguiling vocal vamping achieves undiscovered decibels of war-cry whooping. Mercer and Ryan Beattie’s dueling guitar lines reach heroic levels of arena-sized excesses, all while sounding their most accessible and engaging. Frog Eyes walk that razor-thin line of schizoid prog-pop exuberance and structurally sound songwriting, stretching their compositions beyond the six-minute mark. Paul’s Tomb largely picks up right where the last half of Tears left off, with Mercer hitting those impossible falsettos and sea captain slurs of deep baritone in the inverted vectorscope of his vocal range, his voice weaving its way in and out of sprawling arrangements that made up side-b of that album.
Recorded in the same studio as Tears with only limited equipment changes, Paul’s Tomb roars out of the gate with what is easily the album’s strongest track. The first introduction we have to Mercer’s legion of musical voices within the sliding pitch scale comes about ten seconds after some fuzzed out preliminary guitar work on “A Flower in a Glove”. Mercer’s thundering screech is followed closely by a bass drum kick that claps like a starting pistol, signaling the start of an Iditarod of 21st century attention spans. With four songs running longer than six-minutes, Frog Eyes make themselves relatively easy to keep up with. Mercer’s closed-eyed rants grab you by the lapels and pull you beneath the sea of tumultuous time-changes and splintered power chords. Fear of drowning be damned, you are in it now. Formless, shape shifting spans usually play out each track with dual guitar drive bombs and swells floating along to Mercer’s most impassioned and expressionistic deliveries. These moments would command a certain sense of awe, if one could save himself from being swallowed up of the sheer hugeness of it all....
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