Frog Eyes

The Folded Palm

  • AllMusic Rating
  • User Ratings (0)
  • Your Rating

AllMusic Review by

A poetry slam for the criminally insane, Frog Eyes' Folded Palm is as unsettling as it is riveting. The Canadian quartet has succeeded in creating a sound so volatile that the very act of listening to it is exhausting. Carey Mercer projectile vomits lyrics like "Oh I will scorn the dark opinions of British children" like vintage Lux Interior, blending cuss-filled rants about "fu*king the son" with ruminations on everything from the human heart to matrimony-seeking sea captains like a Shakespearian lackey in a postapocalyptic Globe Theatre. What's remarkable about all of this oratory fire is the melodic beast that's behind it. Melanie Campbell, Grayson Walker, and Michael Rak's nuanced playing keeps Folded Palm grounded in as much reality as they can muster, relying on complex arrangements that alternately ignite and help reign in Mercer's violent exorcisms. On the electrifying opener, "The Fence Feels Its Post," Mercer lets loose a torrent of hyperbole over a sped-up dirge that creaks like Tom Waits and snaps like Tender Prey-era Nick Cave. The piano-led "Ship Destroyer" dances around on hot coals, serving as a jittery primer for the record's finest offering, the frantic and purely psychedelic "Oscillator's Hum." A post-Nuggets-style gem that sounds like the Monks and Roky Erickson combined, its only moment of musical calm is whisked away by its choking narrator explaining, "It's a pity your baby died/but I don't do drugs." What makes Folded Palm so electric -- besides the mesmerizing and volatile playing -- is that the listener is well aware that Mercer could completely lose his sh*t at any moment, and the fact that even the band doesn't know when it's going to happen makes it all the more intoxicating.

blue highlight denotes track pick