By Matt Matasci
It is always a leap of faith when a band makes the decision to dramatically alter their existing sound. Making this transition after releasing only one LP yields an especially mixed bag of results. On one hand, the band’s identity has not yet been fully established, so transitioning into a new one will not shock fans. On the other hand, fledgling artists take the risk of falling between the cracks when they stylistically shift, never fully cultivating a following among the dyed-in-the-wool fans of their new or former genre. The four members of Froth took that risk when recording this year’s nine-song LP Bleak.
Whereas the Los Angeles-based group initially played straight-up 60’s style retro garage pop, their sophomore release sees the band taking a significantly darker and more subtle approach to their sound. The band’s 2013 Burger/Lollipop Records debut Patterns had crisp, popping guitars layered with a beach-y atmosphere, making it the perfect summer album – no strange coincidence it was released on the Fourth of July. Now, the Joo-Joo Ashworth-fronted rock band play as if they made a significant investment in Boss guitar pedals, turning in their former sunny major chord compositions and replacing them with blurry-eyed minor chord shoegaze-pop.
While the band has shifted dynamics, they have not completely abandoned their sound – mid-album highlights “On My Chest” and “Turn It Off” reintroduce some of those beach-side vibes, albeit with a much darker, minor-chord driven pall cast over the mix – in some ways reminiscent of Bay Area legends Thee Oh Sees. While these two songs that call back to Froth’s past are certainly some of their most enjoyable, they are no match for the pitch-perfect, frenetically paced “Postcard Radio.”
Touring behind these new songs, Ashworth, alongside band mates Jeremy Katz (bass), Cameron Allen (drums), and Nick Ventura (guitar) is able to take Froth’s live show to a more cathartic level than ever before. A solid fixture within the tight-knit Eastside-centric Los Angeles punk scene, the band has always relied on their live performances (even back in the day when they were a hastily-put-together joke band) to attract attention. The quartet is now reaching ever-growing heights, opening for bands like The Drums and Tamaryn while making their way across the country and building a national audience.
Be sure to catch them at their homecoming appearance here in Los Angeles on Thursday, November 12 at the excellent Echoplex. One word for the wise: be sure you don’t go Sunset Blvd’s The Echo; even though they are essentially next door, it is a long, roundabout walk to get down to The Echoplex’s Glendale Blvd entrance.
FROTH’S UPCOMING TOUR DATES:
10/29 – Boston, MA – Northeastern University %
10/31 – Philadelphia, PA – Kung Fu Necktie
11/01 – Detroit, MI – UFO Factory
11/02 – Chicago, IL – Empty Bottle
11/03 – Cleveland, OH – Mahall’s
11/04 – Bloomington, IN – Bishop Bar
11/05 – Cincinnati, OH – TBA
11/07 – Denver, CO – Lost Lake
11/10 – San Francisco, CA – The Chapel^
11/11 – Santa Cruz, CA – TBD
11/12 – Los Angeles, CA – Echoplex^
11/13 – Visalia, CA – Cellar Door
11/14 – San Diego, CA – The Hideout
* = w/ Deaf Wish
% = w/ The Drums
^ = w/ Tamaryn