(3 out of 5)
From the opening sonic fusillade of “A Flower in a Glove,” there’s a forceful and pressing sense of emotional urgency to Frog Eyes’ fifth studio album. Of course, that shouldn’t be surprising to anyone who’s familiar with the Canadian band’s output. The group has carved out a niche for itself by crafting songs that seem like one explosive climax after another, with full-force guitar squall, roiling time signatures, and the red-faced and breathless melodrama of vocalist Casey Mercer combining to create a sonic approach that’s the equivalent of a nonstop tension-release. However, on PAUL’S TOMB, the group ups the ante even further; although they provide a brief moment of breathing room with the spacious and slow instrumental sigh of “Styled by Dr. Roberts,” the other eight tracks here force the listener to grab on for the ride without asking too many questions. Unfortunately, the bare-knuckle ride does get a bit exhausting; the band’s frenetic pace and Mercer’s wild-eyed emotionalism very nearly obscure the dense lyrical and musical complexity at work here, leaving you worn out, if a bit unfulfilled.
First appeared April 27, 2009 at Shockhound.com.