Published Jun 08, 2016FRIGS, formerly of the Dirty and lowercase lettered variety, have signed with Arts & Crafts to bring us their Slush EP, four songs from their Toronto home studio. Here, the band mix ferocity with doom and atmospheric gloom, all played with their signature somewhat broken sound they've mastered since the first EP they released with Spectre, 2013's Dirty Frigs/Spectre Split. No doubt FRIGS are still as dark and swampy as they were then, but there's a definite sense of things being more established and stronger here.
The slow chug of "Diana" finds Bria Salmena's wavering voice darkly echoing and bassist Lucas Savatti plucking a steady groove as the lyrics evoke the sad cruelty of eating disorders: "Energy I'll waste on these gagging thoughts / time is lost / you'd be a better person than you thought / My stomach turns, aches and burns / Food is fuel, food is cruel"). Elsewhere, the band address the annoyance of a man's unwanted advances ("You ain't welcome to it now, you ain't welcome to it then / Coming on too strong, who said the brat could come in?") on the potent "Ringworm," which builds to near-hysterics before ending with Salmena coughing and gasping for breath, perfectly in rhythm.
The bluntly titled "God Hates a Coward" woozily seduces with fantastic trance-like playing from guitarist Duncan Hay Jennings until you're hit near the end with a tempo rearrangement and Salmena's sneaking growls and croaks, which explode into repeated shouts of "You know all about me, don't you?" It's a terribly intense finish, and yet it ends with semi-comical scattered applause and a little laugh from Salmena. EP closer "TV" is a surprisingly bright yet hypnotic account of a young woman's confusion about life, weekends "well spent" taking drugs that are "a waste of cash" and being in a detrimental relationship. It oozes with seduction, but it's tinged with sadness.
Salmena's extraordinary voice is clear here, never dowsed in too much reverb as is sometimes the case when FRIGS perform live (though their recent gig at the Smiling Buddha in Toronto proved that they've toned down the microphone effects a tad). Salmena's brooding and sultry when she hits her lows here, and passionate and unyielding when she uses that impressive scream. It's a real treat hearing not only her voice with more clarity, but her honest and undisguised lyricism, too. On "TV," she scathes: "I'm on my way home / and you're watching TV / You say there's nothing on / You could watch me / What the hell am I supposed to be? / A good girl, yeah."
If this is a taste of what's to come from FRIGS, consider our appetites well whetted. (Arts & Crafts)