Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Frog Eyes - Emboldened Navigator EP

Frog Eyes – Emboldened Navigator EP
Soft Abuse, 2003
Acquired: Love Garden, Used, 2009
Price: $1
Emboldened Navigator features Carey Mercer at his weirdest. Since the band’s inception in 2001, Frog Eyes has gradually smoothed out it’s more avant-garde edges yet retained the manic quality that makes them unique. I’m personally more partial to Mercer’s turn with Swan Lake (his collaborative band with Destroyer’s Dan Bejar and Wolf Parade/Sunset Rubdown guy Spencer Krug, who was also a member of this early Frog Eyes lineup and is featured on this 7”) but I do have a special place in my heart for Frog Eyes’ excellent 2007 release Tears of the Valedictorian. I have the same issues with Emboldened Navigator as I do with the first two Frog Eyes albums, which is that the songs lack distinction and often come across as strange compositions that are quite fine but damaged by Mercer’s wailing. The final track “They Did Not Notice the Rushing Rapids” shows how great this band is when they slow things down a bit and the chiming keyboards offset the murkiness found on the prior three tracks. Still, I can’t think of other bands that were making this much weird racket and making a splash in the indie rock world in the early 00s. Although it’s hard to fault Frog Eyes on this one, considering it was pretty much the first thing they ever recorded (it’s also the first release on Mercer’s Soft Abuse records, which has gone on to release albums by his excellent side project Blackout Beach in addition to Destroyer’s Notorious Lightning and Other Works (for which Frog Eyes served as his backing band) and releases by Wooden Wand, Sonny and the Sunsets, Julian Lynch, and Pants Yell!). 

Here's "One in Six Children Will Flee in Boats," an early Frog Eyes jam from their sophomore LP The Golden River.

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