First, Frisbie is a guy, not a plastic flying disc. Indeed, to call your band Frisbie is gutsy for the inevitable comparisons to something round and flat which can fly. Fortunately, for this Chicago-based band, the aerodynamic qualities of this recording never become an issue.
There are some absolutely incredible pop songs on this recording. Track 5, “Martha,” has the emotional intensity of Eric Carmen singing “Reach for the Light” or “All By Myself.” The song is literally dripping with feeling. The next track, “To See and Be Seen,” reminds me of the wall of guitars that opens the classic Big Star track, “Back of a Car.” A more recent reference might be to the Teenage Fanclub track “What You Do to Me.” These are comparisons I do not make lightly: these songs approach the enormity of those two tracks, a lofty level to be sure.
Other highlight tracks include “Momentito” with it’s Ray Manzarek-styled organ arpeggios, making it a driving song reminiscent of “Incense and Peppermint” or L.A. Woman-era Doors. Again, these are comparisons which are not made casually. For these tracks alone, the recording is worth purchasing.
Now, the down side. I must admit that I am absolutely amazed that the other songs are sequenced next to these previously mentioned new millenium nuggets. I would be shocked if there are not at least two writers in this band, one of them the leader that maybe should take a back seat to the guy who wrote “To See and Be Seen.” Remember, Stu Sutcliffe was once the leader of The Beatles. If it’s the same guy who writes all the songs, well, great. I would just like to hear more songs like “To See…,” that’s all.
The tragedy here is that the first four tracks may cause the casual listener to abandon the rest of the album. The lead singer, obviously a tremendously skilled and powerful vocalist, borders on a Styx sound with a vibrato so intense that it shakes the walls. That kind of vibrato is not my thing, but it may be yours. Track four, “Paid In Full,” opens with fuzzy guitars that devolve into mush, almost as if you tried to record “Close to the Edge” by Yes on a limited budget. Many of these tracks approach an almost progressive-pop merger, as on the “High Falutin” track. That part of the Frisbie sound doesn’t work for me at all.
This record is like listening to two albums and, for me, was a very strange experience. I absolutely loved the tracks I mentioned, and on the tracks I didn’t, let’s just say I was not blown away.
I want to repeat that this recording is worth buying. Some of the tracks on here are some of the best I’ve heard in 2000. I just didn’t absolutely love the whole album.
Please contact www.heardiagonally.com for information regarding purchase of this very, very fine release.
// Notes from the Road
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