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Frogg Cafe - Bateless Edge CD (album) cover

BATELESS EDGE

Frogg Cafe

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.92 | 188 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Negoba
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Eclectic Progg Feast from Zappaholics

Frogg Café began as a Zappa cover band, but have been putting out their own work since 2001. Their 2010 release BATELESS EDGE is the first I'd heard of this talented band, and what a discovery it was. Though they are categorized as Jazz-rock here on PA, the Froggers dish up a diverse blend of sounds. Some of their songs sit firmly within the realm of current modern prog, while others reach into a Univers Zero style chamber rock. Of course, there are plenty of allusions to Uncle Frank, and probably the most consistent feature is the love of a complex composition. That element is right up my alley, and I've enjoyed this album very much. The highlight songs are the opener "Terra Sancta" and the epic "Pasta Fazeuhl." The former is a pleasant stomp that reminds me of Beardfish, Umphrey's McGee, or perhaps IZZ. The latter is the most complex and dissonant of the tracks, and evokes RIO pioneers UZ much more than Magma despite the name of the song. The composition is very ambitious, often dark, but never ventures into true avant territory. It's one of my favorite songs in recent memory in the chamber rock style.

The three part "Under Wuhu Son" is a bit more meandering and soft-handed, but still quite solid. Though vocals are certainly not the Frogg Café strong point, they are competently delivered and there are even some nice harmony sections during part 1. Part 2 is much heavier and returns to the UZ feel. We get some Zappa-ish humor for relief here and there, reaching a climax in Part 3. "From the Fence" is a gentle ballad where the vocals become more emotive and compelling. The album ends with "Belgian Boogie Board," another well composed instrumental that traverses a wide territory of sound.

While this album has been criticized for being too eclectic, its clear connection to other established prog sounds make it a great transition from the eclectic camp into the final frontier ? RIO / AVANT. Unlike Univers Zero, Frogg Café never get so overpoweringly dark that the listener needs a break (or to hide.) It's just a bit more major in tonality, a bit brighter in rhythm, while retaining all the elaborate composing of their forefathers.

I've been tempted to cave and give this a 5/5 rating, and I may switch my opinion after the album sees a little test of time. But it is certainly excellent, and highly recommended.

Negoba | 4/5 |

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