With the grace of a Fender Jaguar, a critically acclaimed debut record, and a dedicated fan base back home in Southern California, Froth has proven to listeners and critics alike that a sophomore slump simply isn’t something they can squeeze in between riffs, as was evident last Tuesday night at The Chapel. Over the last two years, the quartet has become masters of sonic translation, so much so that their live shows almost sound better than their record. On their latest album, “Bleak,” they ditched their beloved omnichord and upped the ante with more guitar, making Tuesday’s show merely one of a tour’s worth of initiation ceremonies into the pantheon of psych rockers that dominate California’s music scene.
Midway through their set, lead singer Joo Joo Ashworth dove into the opening chords of Brian Eno’s “Needle In The Camel’s Eye,” and a night of shoegaze made a pit stop in another green world of art rock. If all prior musical knowledge were set aside for the night, the song could’ve easily been mistaken for a lost Froth track, as the band made sure to carry out each note to sonic accuracy, but with just enough distortion and reverb to make it their own. Prominently featured were songs like “Afternoon,” broody dream pop for a rainy day, and “Postcard Radio,” the bittersweet single heard ‘round the mosh pit.
The boys looked tired, and rightfully so; they just wrapped up a fall tour with Brooklyn’s indie pop sweethearts The Drums, graced the Midwest and East Coast with a few headlining shows, and are now nearing the end of a Californian circuit with noise pop vocalist Tamaryn — all within the last four months. Needless to say, a major lack of between-song banter and a lot of literal shoegazing was not only forgiven, but overlooked as the result of what drew a crowd on a Tuesday night in the first place: simply great music.
Although, for nostalgia’s sake, it would’ve been a treat to hear a few more songs off their 2013 debut, “Patterns,” Froth is by no means here to prove themselves by comparing material. They’ve spent the last two years rising to the top of Los Angeles’ underground music scene, and from here, it’s nowhere but even further up. With “Bleak,” sonic maturation is evident, and the band that began as a joke between highschool friends is now set for total domination, one venue at a time.
Photo courtesy of Caleb D’Oleire