A compelling shoegazing angst
Froth is emblematic of the rising shoegaze music scene in Echo Park performance venues, whose crowds are often twenty-year-olds with obvious fake ID’s. Shoegazing, which was popularized in the 1980s and 1990s by alt-indie British rock bands, is characterized by loud warping instrumentation overlaid by feedback loops and dreamy, often stylishly lousy, vocals. Froth’s fourth 10-track album Duress is their most biting shoegaze record to date.
Barely knowing any instruments, Joo-Joo Ashworth and Jeff Fribourg started calling themselves a band in 2011. Their hoax only materialized when in 2012, Ashworth led the vocals, Fribourg learned his omnichord and they finally added bassist Jeremy Katz and drummer Cameron Allen in the band.
Froth’s lyrics often embody the internet culture and their generation’s angst. In the first track “Laurel,” Ashworth’s croaky vocals sing “[f]illed with envy/ Yanny cries/ for she’s not Laurel,” pertaining to the 2018 internet audio phenomenon where one could either only hear the word yanny or laurel. Their comedic approach can also be traced in the title track “John Peel Slowly,” where its captivating aeronautic-like intro sonically dissipates into Katz’s smooth bass notes.
The band’s relaxed tempo and lyrical versatility are even more emotionally pronounced as they fade in and out of tight, punchy guitar riffs. In their track “Catalog,” Ashworth sings “[n]othing to stop me/ nobody’s out to call my name” in such an ambivalently prideful, yet melancholic tone. On the other hand, the track “Dialogue” sounds like an interior monologue – even a coming of age – that nihilistically questions the point of knowing. Froth’s lukewarm vocals in their album Duress is washed over by its slightly gritty strings and percussion.
Their fourth 10-track album has a resonance of obscure haze. The sleepy, slow chord progression in tracks “Syndrome” and “Slow Chamber” is quintessential of the psychedelic sounds of the subgenre. Froth also captivates their listeners in their minute-long intro in “Xvanos” that has a tinge of an ambient feel that later on meshes with a warping noise.
Froth’s charisma is lucid and unique. They have taken a serious step to better understanding their flow as a group in their album Duress.