After 17 years, the Canadian indie-rock outfit Frog Eyes are closing the book with their forthcoming final album Violet Psalms. The LP’s lead single, “Idea Man,” was sunny-with-a-chance-of-psych-pop, but their latest release, “Pay For Fire,” casts a darker shadow.
Frontman Carey Mercer’s voice shakes and soars into falsetto, pushing through the song’s sparkling riffs. Electronics bubble and fizz beneath swirling guitars, but never veer beyond Mercer’s vocal command. The self-contained groove brings to mind Future Islands.
Mercer explains the track in his own words:
“Pay For Fire” is like a good percentage of my songs: written to represent a small community, as in a village, a small town, a city block: this portrait is besieged by external forces, set upon by resource extractive corps (“pay for fire”, a version of paying for water), trying vainly to honour its elders who are forced to work crap jobs (“We won’t steal the ancient’s shifts”), watching its infrastructure fall into disarray (“the water tank’s going to break this year”). It sounds dark, but I find it uplifting and resilient — perhaps it’s the way the synthesizers bubble up, or the twinkle of the high-pitched electric guitars that float in and out of the sound field. It seemed like a good last song for the album, and, in a linear sense, the band.
Listen to “Pay For Fire” below.
05/11 Kamloops, BC @ The Office of Surrealist Investigations*
05/12 Kelowna, BC @ Milkcrate Records*
05/18 Toronto, Ontario @ The Garrison*
05/19 Montreal, Québec @ The Ritz*
05/20 Ottawa, Ontario @ Makerspace North*
05/21 Hamilton, Ontario @ Mill’s Hardware*
05/25 Victoria, BC @ Copper Owl*
05/26 Vancouver, BC @ China Cloud*
06/29 Bellingham, WA @ Shakedown Tavern*
06/30 Portland, Oregon @ The Bunk Bar*
07/01 Seattle, WA @ Sunset Tavern*
07/03 Los Angeles, CA @ The Moroccan Lounge*$
07/05 San Fransisco, CA @ Bottom of the Hill*$
07/07 New York City, NY @ Elsewhere: Zone One*#
07/08 Philadelphia, PA @ Johnny Brenda’s*
07/09 Washington DC @ DC9 club*
* = With Hello Blue Roses
$ = With Skygreen Leopards
# = With Zachary Cale
Violet Psalms is out 5/18 via Paper Bag. Pre-order it here.