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Frost*: Day And Age

Hot on the heels of their 2020 EP Others, those cool chaps from Frost* return with an album that might just be their defining statement so far. Yes, I know (and agree) that Milliontown was and remains something special and I know (and agree) that what’s come since has never failed to ignite the senses, invigorate the emotions and entertain hugely in the process. Day And Age, however, somehow gathers up everything that’s come before from Frost* and presents it in a completely fresh and exciting manner. Unexpectedly, the departure of a magnificent musician, in the shape of drummer Craig Blundell, has been one of the sparks that’s allowed this ignition, the use of three different drummers across D&A, and the attitude during songwriting of exploring which percussionist would do what with each composition as it was being created, a seriously liberating endeavour. The trio that take on that challenge are Kaz Rodriguez (Chaka Khan/Josh Groban), Darby Todd (The Darkness/Martin Barre) and Pat Mastelotto (King Crimson/Mr Mister) and not only do these drummers appear to have been allowed to truly bring their own personalities to the tracks they perform on, they have been actively encouraged to let go and show everything they’ve got.

All of that, however, is still wrapped up in songs that contain mighty hooks, jaw dropping instrumentation and devastating dynamics - and all without a solo anywhere in sight from keyboard player Jem Godfrey, singer/guitarist John Mitchell, or bassist Nathan King. Now, I know, this is prog, so surely it’s all about ditch the chorus, get to the widdly bits! But nothing could be further from that state of affairs here. Somehow, across the first few encounters of the angular Crimson with an 80s pop edge of “The Boy Who Stood Still” - a part narrated track (by (hello to) Jason Isaacs no less) - or wide ranging and hugely melodic title track, it’s an aspect you don’t even pick up on. For some the whole notion might be a bonkers concept but believe me, to say it’s actually a masterstroke here would be an understatement. And it’s also worth mentioning just how phenomenal that title track really is - considered, frantic, pulsating, restrained, memorable, angular, uncompromising, welcoming and all in the space of just 11 minutes. It’s mind boggling stuff and then you need add in that the work of Kaz Rodriguez is off the charts!

Even the more compact tracks, such as “Terrestrial”, where it’s Darby Todd expanding percussive boundaries while holding everything together, dart and dive from idea to idea but here there’s a willingness to roll out the red carpet and allow the very important listeners right into the centre of the party. And a (political) party it is, for this album would seem to be loosely conceptual, where the population of this planet are hoodwinked into thinking that everything is as hunky as dory can be as it all goes to shit around them. Hmmm…. I wonder where they got that idea from?

“Waiting For The Lie” pulls in the exuberance for a short time, piano and a stunning vocal refrain from Mitchell lulling us with a hidden edge that proves razor sharp before the track grows into an equally enigmatic push and pull of keys and guitar. Not to be outdone by his album sharing buddies, Mastelotto positively explodes during the album closing “Repeat To Fade”, with his percussive power and precision something to behold as choral vocals swoop in between angry shouting demands to “enjoy yourself!”, as those in power enforce ‘fun’ on the masses who lap it up and refuse to open their eyes… And he does likewise on “Skywards”, where a chiming synth charge leads this track into battle.

And I could go on… Mitchell being fantastic throughout, Godfrey confirming his status us underrated magician and King walking the line between underpinning it all and completely stealing the show with a majestic eye for keeping it all about the music.

Day And Age is as much a comment on modern society as it is a mighty musical statement. And in this Day And Age maybe that’s what we need. I know for me, this album is exactly what I wanted and will maintain that status for a long, long time to come.


Track Listing
1. Day And Age
2. Terrestrial
3. Waiting For The Lie
4. The Boy Who Stood Still
5. Island Life
6. Skywards
7. Kill The Orchestra
8. Repeat To Fade

Added: June 6th 2021
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Score:
Related Link: Frost* online
Hits: 441
Language: english

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