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Frogg Cafe - Fortunate Observer Of Time CD (album) cover

FORTUNATE OBSERVER OF TIME

Frogg Cafe

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.91 | 50 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

hdfisch
Prog Reviewer
4 stars The first obvious feature of Frogg Café's third album is that it's more easily accessible than "Creatures" and this fact seduced me after the first two listenings to rate it a bit lower than the previous one. But surprisingly after several repeated spins it raised more and more in my appreciation and now I'd even like to say I prefer it to its admittedly a bit directionless predecessor. Overall they continue here in the vein of their debut and songs like "Waterfall Carnival" on "Creatures". That means elegiac guitar parts combined with weeping violin, nice piano lines, soft keyboard dots and a solid rhythm section. Nevertheless the aspect of oddity, humour and slight ZAPPA- reminiscence is not neglected at all as they show in the songs "You're Still Sleeping" and "Abyss of Dissension" which is clearly the best one of this album. Not to forget to mention that new guitarist Steve Uh presents a very convincing performance and a couple of well-done solos.

The opener "Eternal Optimist" might have some deterrent effect on most hardcore prog fans since it's a rather "mainstream" sounding song with a catchy melody and chorus line. But on the other hand there is this awesome violin and the final instrumental part sounds really interesting. Alltogether maybe the weakest track, but still rather good. First three songs appear almost as a rounded whole and there is an obvious improvement from one to the other. Both the title track and "Reluctant Observer" are excellent symphonic jazz-fusion tracks. Apart of the former one, which is kept all instrumental, it's quite striking that the portion of vocal parts is higher on this album than on the previous one. But since I don't have any problem with Nick Lieto's voice I don't take it as a drawback. "No Regrets" is a more slow-ish but excellent one with a brilliant trumpet section followed by a violin one which is once again fascinating. Most of the songs have been composed by Nick Lieto and unlike on their previous albums the slight impro-alike character has been almost disappeared. "You're Still Sleeping" is a brilliant blend of this cool type of sound and elements we use to know from some of Zappa's songs. As well an excellent one with awesome trumpet and violin. With Andrew Sussman's excellent composition "Abyss Of Dissension" they're proving that it's really not straight ahead music they're playing. Here lots of odd and humorous ideas have been put into action by trombones, guitar and marimba provided by guest Ed Mann (ex-ZAPPA band). Highlight is the multi-layered a capella part reminding a lot to GENTLE GIANT. Every now and then there are bits of cool bar jazz music providing a relaxed and casual feeling despite all weirdness. "Release" is closing the album in a classical inspired vein with a chamber music like string piece played by cello and two violins.

Frogg Café managed with their third release to create a very interesting and coherent prog album sounding more like a "mainstream" one at the first glance but just due to the perfect "rounded" composition. Only after a couple of spins it's revealing its full qualities to the listener and therefore it's worth for 4 ½ stars.

hdfisch | 4/5 |

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