Frogg Café - Creatures

Year of Release: 2003
Label: independent
Catalog Number: n/a
Format: CD
Total Time: 52:32:00

The post 70's world of Progressive music has seen a number of bands trying to recapture the magic present in the early recordings of the groups some now refer to as "the big 5." Once in a while a recording passes my desk that contains moments of the above-mentioned "magic," but now I can honestly say I've at last heard a CD that has it all. Frogg Café's second CD entitled Creatures is a blend of all of the elements that made prog music great in the days when Yes' Close To Edge, Genesis' Selling England?, Gentle Giant's Free Hand and Zappa's Overnight Sensation, to name a few, were brand new. However, Frogg are not a cheap rip off, they are a very original band creating something all their own.

The CD opens with "All This Time." This is one of their heavier songs. The drums and bass start things off with a nice groove in 6 followed by an anthem-like theme?that you'll be singing for a while after the song is finished. The guitar adds?greatly to the power already established by the rhythm section. As with all of their songs, the lyrics are deep and meaningful. A great way to open up things. It is immediately evident that all of the players are of a high caliber. Literally no weaknesses.

This is followed by the song "Creatures." Their Zappa/jazz influence is evident in the opening of the tune. Just the right mix of both here. The bass and drums groove on a nice 7. The guitar hits a great chord that takes the song in a unique direction. There are just enough time and tempo changes to keep things interesting for the full duration (7:41). The emphasis throughout the entire recording is on composition. This is something I have found missing in a lot of the post 70's prog music. This and all other songs are very well written pieces.

The next song "The Celestial Metal Can" is not really a song, more of a "sound experiment". This piece would not be out of place on a very early Pink Floyd album or perhaps Trout Mask Replica-era Captain Beefheart. An interesting journey that sets the stage for an instrumental tune called "Gagutz." This is another nearly 8 minute song and, as with the others, keeps you interested for the entire piece. Two things that take it over the top are an amazing violin solo by Bill Ayasse followed by an equally amazing guitar solo by Frankie Camiola. Things get suddenly a tad jazzier as Nick Lieto belts out a killer trumpet solo. The song then morphs into a nice little feel that reminds me of an early Gentle Giant-like groove. But hang on, the best is yet to come!

The final piece is bound to become a modern progressive rock classic. It's been a great while since a post 70's song has passed through my headphones, leaving me speechless. "Waterfall Carnival" did just that. This song clocks in at 21:15 and every moment of it is pure magic. If you are into "Supper's Ready" or CTTE, this song alone makes buying Creatures a MUST. In my opinion, this is the finest song I've heard in a long, long time. I found myself hitting the replay button after it ended.

All Frogg Caf? need is one high profile gig ? say NEARFest 2004? as an example to lift them to the top of the heap. If this recording is any indication of where the band is headed, I can't wait to hear what they come up with next. I highly recommend Creatures to anyone longing for the kind of music produced in Prog's heyday.

[Rod is bassist / acoustic guitarist / keyboardist / vocalist with Lightspeed (see our review of their third CD) -ed.]

All This Time (8:02) / Creatures (7:41) / The Celestial Metal Can (8:19) / Gagutz (7:55) / Waterfall Carnival (21:15)

Bill Ayasse - electric violin, acoustic violin and viola, mandolin, octave mandolin, background vocals, percussion
Frank Camiola - electric guitar, 6 and 12 string acoustic guitars, classical guitar, tenor banjo, string bass, additional keyboards, percussion
James Guarnieri - drums, percussion
Nick Lieto - lead and background vocals, keyboards, mellotron, hammond organ, grand piano, trumpet, percussion
Andrew Sussman - electric bass

Frogg Caf? (2001)
Creatures (2003)
Fortunate Observer Of Time (2005)
The Safenzee Diaries (2007)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin US

Added: September 22nd 2003
Reviewer: Rod Chappell
Artist website:
Hits: 1467
Language: english


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