You ascend a flight of creaky stairs and enter a cramped dwelling suspended by wooden pillars over a swamp. An illustrious storyteller is rumored to live here, and you love a good story. As soon as you pass the door’s threshold, the dwelling is engulfed in light. Smoke of every color erupts from the walls and frolics with the light. After a short while your vision clears, and a man adorned in exotic fabrics sits on a carpet in front of you. You sit and listen.
Lyrics have the ability to make or break a band’s music and, every once in a blue moon, they can define the success of a group. Pickpocket’s Locket is the newest full-length from Frog Eyes, a peculiar band from Victoria, British Columbia fronted by the eccentric Carey Mercer, grounded by drummer/Mercer’s wife Melanie Campbell, and supported by a rotating cast of marvelous instrumentalists. It’s time to pull out that lyric sheet!
Joining the duo on this record is Mercer’s former roommate and occasional bandmate, Spencer Krug of Wolf Parade, Moonface, and Sunset Rubdown. Krug contributes bright string arrangements and piano chording, which add a baroque-like feel to the buoyant, folk-tinged indie-rock. The song structures are circuitous, non-traditional, and resemble the captivating narratives of short stories rather than conventional songwriting.
The primary appeal of the music is the voice of Mercer, a dominant presence that squeezes every drop of emotion from each phrase that he speaks. This is highly idiosyncratic music that reveals new rewards upon repeated listens, like a cryptic novel, but it also possesses a surface-level geniality that allows anyone to easily enjoy it. If you’re seeking lyrically complex, intricately composed indie-rock, this album is for you.
– stasi (@stasisphere)