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Frost* - Milliontown CD (album) cover





3.83 | 447 ratings

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3 stars Jem Godfrey, believe it or not, has written quite a few hits over the years...for the likes of ATOMIC KITTEN and SUGABABES. I know, I know, I know. Not exactly the best grounding in music but, before you try to turn away from this review in disgust, realise that Mr Godfrey is, like you and me, a serious lover of all things prog. After temporarily quitting the day job, Godfrey put together an impressive looking line-up for his new project entitled FROST, who aimed to bring prog into the 21st century by combining the archaic progressive sensibilities, rhythms and sounds of his 1970's-yester-year heroes with the more overt, primary-coloured simplicity of todays pop and Indie acts. Digital-pop-prog, if you will. It sounds like a unique challenge, and maybe not to everyone's tastes considering the apathy towards chart-bothering pop-hits shown by the average progger.(me included). However, with the help of neo- prog heroes IQ's rhythm section and the talented guitarist John Mitchell, Godfrey has produced a scintillating odyssey into this bright new world filled with daring musical mixtures. Opener 'Hyperventilate' sounds like an almighty-clash between Marillion and The Human League, with bold synths and highly-string guitars battling for supremacy over the Andy Edwards thunderous drumming. It's a good start, but things are bettered immediately. Sophomore song 'No Me, No You' is one of 'Milliontowns' highlights. Crunching metal-riffs run head-first thru John Jowitt's thuddering bass, whilst Godfrey's synthesised Transformers-esque vocals spew a barrage of meaty lyrics. So far, so good. But there will very definitely be detractors who will see this as falling delicately between two stools that, traditionally, are very, very far apart. Indeed, 'The Other Me' sounds cringingly like a sub-Sugababes pop ditty, with vacuous wordplay only deepening the resemblence. 'Black Light Machine' fares better, but the pop quirks don't always sit comfortably alongside the prog-and-metal framework, sometimes making for awkward moments and time-changes. The required and eponymously-titled 20-minute-plus epic finishes things off in some style, and is probably the LP's most experimental piece. The fact that the clash of styles doesn't always work does detract from the promising musical avenue being explored here, and there is no denying that. But, in fairness you have to give Godfrey a pat on the back for being true to the core ideologies and ethos of progressive rock - that of experimentation, progression, style-merging etc - and it has to be said that there is little out there(in the prog world) similar to MILLIONTOWN. At times inspired, at others awkward and mawkish, Godfrey's quest for a harmonious balance between prog and pop, his day-job and his first love, was always going to be difficult. He hasn't quite pulled it off yet but with the talent shown by FROST here, there are surely exiciting times ahead.
stefro | 3/5 |


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