To some surprise, I discovered that UK's Frost has not had a new recording in eight years. Which almost puts them in the dreaded Spinal Tap "where are they now?" category. But not so fast, founder and keyboard player Jem Godfrey returns with John Mitchell (Lonely Robot, It Bites) on guitar and vocals, with Nathan King (Level 42) on bass and Craig Blundell (Steven Wilson) on drums for their third album Falling Satellites.
And as you would suspect, the album is filled with Frost's modern interpretation of classic English progressive rock, led mostly by Godfrey's keyboard layers. Those are sometimes atmospheric, sometimes quirky even unusual, but always creative, intriguing, and engaging. But Godfrey offers a twist with the addition of the latest Chapman device, the Railboard. According to Godfrey, it's made of aluminum, rather than wood, creating what he calls "a very glassy, tubular sound which is quite unique." He also had the device tuned to 5ths and octaves by Emmett Chapman. Then unlike most Stick players, Godfrey plays the Railboard horizontally like a keyboard, and then, as he says, "attack it with e-Bows and mallets and stuff." You can hear the Railboard within Closer To The Sun and Numbers. The former song reminds of gentler progressive rock with ebbs and flows created by by both keyboards and guitar. The latter pretty much falls into the aforementioned quirky category as the underlying groove has some bounce and the keys splash like raindrops peppering puddles on the ground.
As to the rest of the album, it should be noted that the last six songs, from Heartstrings through Last Day, form a unit, 32 minute long suite called Sunlight, which features guitar wizard Joe Satriani (though it's unclear which song or songs). The suite contains two the most ambitious songs from Frost, The Raging Against The Dying Of The Light Blues In 7/8 and Nice Day For It. Perhaps the best description for both songs is, rambunctious arrangements punctuated with masterful keyboard and guitar wizardry. A final mention of another song is necessary, which would be Towerblock. It has this subtle, subdued, vocal start for about a minute and a half lulling you to audio apathy. Then erupts with this bat shit crazy music wrapping up every instrument in this nearly chaotic rock jazz fusion. The vocals eventually comeback, but even more muted. Some ambitious key soloing rises, while the drums hurry along with a continuous flurry. Again, another song falling into the quirky and unusual category.
But what else would I expect from Frost? Godfrey and company are tacticians at messing with your head with their musical concoctions. Recommended.
Falling Satellites is filled with Frost's modern interpretation of classic English progressive rock, led mostly by Jem Godfrey's sometimes quirky even unusual, but always creative and engaging keyboard expressions.
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