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Fred Frith - Cheap at Half the Price CD (album) cover

CHEAP AT HALF THE PRICE

Fred Frith

 

RIO/Avant-Prog

3.76 | 12 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

js (Easy Money)
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Cheap at Half the Price is the third solo album by Fred Frith, it is preceded by the brilliant world music influenced first album Gravity, and the more avant-garde sophomore effort Speechless. Cheap, just like Gravity, turns to Eastern Europe and the Middle East for musical inspiration, but unfortunately Cheap is not nearly as successful as Gravity. The difference between the two albums is that Gravity is mostly instrumental, but Cheap is made up of odd world/avant/pop songs that often feature Frith's 'quirky' vocals, and that is a problem.

Fred Frith cannot sing. I think he knows this but assumes that since this is avant-garde rock his clever socio-political insights will be good enough to pull things off. The truth is Frith's music sounds so much better when he stays instrumental, which is proven on this album by the several instrumental songs on side two. The other problem with Cheap is that a lot of the songs were built from pre-recorded drum tracks that repeat the same pattern (some of these drum patterns also show up on other Frith albums). Once again Gravity was much better because the songs were performed by live musicians playing creative arrangements that included a lot of rhythmic variations.

This album is OK, but Frith is capable of much better.

js (Easy Money) | 3/5 |

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