Subtitling your album A Triumph is simultaneously pompous and disarming, like a drunk who stands up on his barstool to give a grand speech, only to pitch over face-first. Frog Eyes specializes in handling the face-plant and the speech all at once on its latest, Paul’s Tomb. The drums on the nine-minute opener “A Flower In A Glove" march along with stately snare-taps, but the bass gargles with all the grace of a detached muffler, and Carey Mercer and Ryan Beattie’s guitars toss back and forth like sweaty handfuls of confetti. As always, Mercer’s vocals threaten to dominate the songs—each line could be the last in a prolonged, bellowed tantrum—but the mostly live-in-studio takes capture the skilled frenzy of Frog Eyes’ shows. “Styled By Dr. Roberts” and “Rebel Horns” have the souls of hyper pop-punk tunes, except the hooks don’t always quickly snap into place: They sprawl over measures, sputter, and wash over into each other. “Violent Psalms” and “Paul’s Tomb” pair up in one of Frog Eyes’ most exciting and distinct moments yet: a final act that goes from creepy-solemn to a desperate, heaving crash. Each song on Paul’s Tomb: A Triumph has so many fragments and passages that they inevitably sag and blur together at times. Then again, it would be a shame if this dizzy rock ’n’ roll pageant didn’t rattle the memory.
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