Frog – ‘Count Bateman’ album review

Frog Count Bateman album bandcamp new music 2019 Audio Antihero

Wyrd-Americana indie rockers Frog have released their fourth album ‘Count Bateman’. Available via Audio Antihero and Frog founder Danny Bateman’s Tape Wormies imprint (order now), the eclectic album finds the band looking West and musing over sunshine, sweat, sexuality and swaying palm trees.

The record opens with the dreamy and acoustic ‘Hartsdale Hotbox’. Wrapped in nostalgia, the song finds Danny singing about his hometown of Queens, New York and staying out past curfew before pondering ‘What’s really, really good is what I’d ask you if I could’. Following this is the DIY and analogue-inspired Americana of ‘RIP to the Empire State Flea Market’ which has a grounded narrative about ‘searching through all the bars in the nice gentleman’s car’. ‘Black Friday’ is another heartfelt and wistful song with a contradiction of lyrics: ‘Do you wanna get a drink with me? In this country we go tat for tat. Do you wanna sit and sing to me?’

The subtle acoustics of ‘Borned King’ took us back to the early 2000s, reminding us of bands like Kings of Convenience. Danny dreams of Michigan and talks about gracious mothers grieving before delivering the final, poignant line of ‘Walking home alone, don’t pick up the phone’. ‘Touch’ is a short, sweet and atmospheric ode to lust and romance with lines like ‘Stealing a glance you check her out’ really giving an insight into Danny’s feelings. ‘It’s Something I Do’ follows with visceral talk of old lovers and ‘Fall colours and the damp air’. Taste delves into more of a Tunng-meets-early Arcade Fire sound, although the lyrics are full of dirty thoughts and experiences: ‘Then we left and drove to another bar. I put my fingers between your legs in the car’; ‘Close your eyes and whisper like a whore’.

‘You Know I’m Down’ has a country feel while the more electronica-tinged ‘Got the World at Your Fangs’ finds Danny lamenting his home town and the dreams it promises: ‘New York is just a con. All work and not much fun’. He also delivers a warning that could be seen as a threat: ‘Man, I will fuck you up’. The closing ‘Miracle’ is a three-minute ditty with a focus on pain – both physical and emotional – following a visit to the doctor: ‘Women and children, hysterical. Me, I have no fear’.

‘Count Bateman’ is a powerful and personal record that tries to make some kind of sense of the perplexing and puzzling modern world.

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