As 2010 draws to a close, I’m still playing catch up with some of the records that I missed or slept on over the past 12 months. The fact that I’m only now getting into Frog Eyes’ Paul’s Tomb: A Triumph is one that I have no excuse for. I posted both of the songs Dead Oceans made available as free downloads back in February and March, and one of which, “Flower In A Glove”, made such an impression and stuck around enough to earn a place in my Top 20 of the Year. Their last album, 2007’s Tears of the Valedictorian, was a personal favorite that year. How I never picked up the rest of Paul’s Tomb and really listened until last week is beyond me. But am I ever glad I did.
Anyone who’s listened to Carey Mercer, either in Frog Eyes, as part of his Swan Lake side project with Dan Bejar and Spencer Krug, or in his quieter solo project Blackout Beach, is probably well aware of the intensity with which Mercer attacks each syllable he sings. He’s known to roar, howl, and yelp like a lunatic, and on Paul’s Tomb: A Triumph he holds nothing back. It’s a 45 minute vocal death charge – raw, manic, reckless, and utterly unnerving. The fact that his band plays every note with such a distinct and disarming volatility only elevates the whole thing.
I love what Coke Machine Glow had to say recently on the supposed difficulty of this record (which, in all honesty, most likely kept me away for so long), in their “Albums of the Year” list (#5, btw) – But once you’ve an ear in the door, listening—just try and turn it off. Every song. Every goddamn song. It’s a fucking miracle, the way Mercer, in the hands of Frog Eyes, takes something so raw and unattractive and executes it with such blissful, unapologetic beauty. So here it is, easily one of the year’s best rock albums, finally getting the props I should have given it months ago.
MP3 :: Flower In A Glove
MP3 :: Lear In Love
(from Paul’s Tomb: A Triumph. Buy here)