Frigs

Basic Behaviour

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AllMusic Review by

When Toronto's Frigs resurfaced in 2016 with the Slush EP, it was the beginning of the band's rebirth. Not only did they change their name from Dirty Frigs, they streamlined their sound, stripping away the psychobilly elements of their early singles in favor of the stark, gritty post-punk that comes into its own on Basic Behaviour. This leaner approach puts the focus on the band's greatest asset, singer Bria Salmena. Raspy and world-weary beyond her years, her formidable voice rivals forebears like Carla Bozulich, Thalia Zedek, and Patti Smith as well as more recent forces of nature such as Savages' Jehnny Beth. Salmena demonstrates her power and nuance on songs like the furious "II," where she wails "This is shit/Just admit it," and "Waste," where her rants and whispers drive the song's momentum. Though Frigs don't hide their influences, they aren't complacent about them either. Instead, they push that legacy forward on fiery, complex songs such as "Chest" and "Talking Pictures," which reflects their love of Gang of Four and Wire in its bracing riffs. On "Solid State," they borrow some of Sonic Youth's unpredictable song structures instead of their much-copied alt-rock cool as the song careens between grungy pop and vertiginous breakdowns. "Gemini" is even more intriguing, setting Salmena's coos to a bleary keyboard loop that suggests an entirely different direction for Frigs -- and proves they're just as riveting when they're quiet. A commanding, confident debut, Basic Behaviour goes well beyond the ordinary.

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